As we noted at College Insurrection recently, American History isn’t getting much play on college campuses these days. When it is taught however, Howard Zinn is the go-to guy.
Mary Grabar of Minding The Campus explains why.
Howard Zinn in the College Classroom
The left cannot get enough of the late Howard Zinn. The radical professor’s A People’s History of the United States consistently holds a place in the top 15 of the 100 bestselling political books on Amazon‘s “blue,” liberal side. The million mark in sales has long been passed, an outstanding figure for a work of history. This despite the fact that his “People’s History” is an unrelievedly hostile take on the nation’s past.
Healthy sales can be attributed in large part to the use of the book as a textbook in high school and college. Generally, 20 to 30 percent of students in my freshman composition classes say they have read Howard Zinn in high school. Students now have eNotes to explain Zinn. There is a teaching edition geared for college teachers, and at least one for high school teachers, especially those teaching Advanced Placement history. They assign his book in suburban Gwinnett County, Georgia, and in rural Hoschton, Georgia. I have a large file of syllabi for such AP history classes. Students who complete their college history requirements in high school do not escape Zinn.
Furthermore, an entire spin-off industry has developed for adapting Zinn’s version of history for the lower grades. Publisher Seven Stories claims that Zinn’s A Young People’s History, for ages 10 and up, is their best-selling backlist title. A plethora of lesson materials is offered to teachers through the Zinn Education Project. At a Georgia State University College of Education-sponsored “teach-in” last February, I sat in on a workshop where students from area colleges of education learned strategies from teachers and education professors for using the Zinn version of history to teach elementary school students about Christopher Columbus’s “real” accomplishment–namely genocide.
Be sure to read William Jacobson’s related report to find out what happened to the study of Western Civilization at Hamilton College.