Howard Zinn's The Politics Of History

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When reviewing the evolution of my worldview, Howard Zinn’s The Politics of History comes to mind. His book is a collection of case studies and essays that argue for a radical approach to the past. Zinn’s work changed the way I saw my purpose in life. I had originally planned to enter a field in science, despite my passion for history and the Humanities. In an age where the college degree had lost its traditional value, STEM fields seemed to me like the only practical route to success. However, Zinn inspired me to pursue a career driven by passion. He challenged me to question how the study of the past can impact change in the future. He made me realize that, “We need to dig beneath the abstractions so that our fellow citizens can make judgements on the particular realities beneath political rhetoric.” Zinn’s work allowed my worldview to evolve from accepting a passive view of the past to developing my own theory on history. As I first read The Politics of History, I began to realize that there was something fundamentally flawed in the way public schools taught history. It is often portrayed as the simple regurgitation of facts, names, and dates. Or it is indoctrinated into …show more content…
It’s the traditional responsibility of the historian to separate themselves from the public. Their role is to provide the masses with facts and theories. After all, there is the sanctity of neutrality we must uphold. I understood and embraced this position prior to reading Zinn. But my view was changed by his book. “[T]he real choice is not between shaping the world or not, but between doing it willingly or unconsciously” he writes. As a historian, we can either maintain the status quo by relaying forms of lullaby history or we can influence our students by promoting a radical approach to history that shapes the world anew. Or to quote the historian Eric Foner, “In order to create a new future, we must first create a new

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