Roger Kimball: Howard Zinn Professor of Contempt – National Review Online


With Howard Zinn, contemporary American academia found its court historian. Zinn, who died January 27 at 87, was like a gigantic echo chamber, accurately reproducing — and actively reinforcing — every left-wing cliché with which the academy has abetted its sense of election these past several decades. “You see how smart he is,” saith the tribe, “he thinks exactly as we do.” Zinn’s biography tells us that he was the author of “more than 20 books.” But only one matters: A People’s History of the United States. Published in 1980 with appropriately modest expectations — it had, I read somewhere, an initial print run of only 5,000 copies — the book went on to sell some 2 million and is still going strong. Its Amazon sales rank as of February 1, 2010, was 7. Seven. That’s a number most authors would climb over broken bottles to achieve 30 days after their books were published. Here it is 30 years on.

via Professor of Contempt – Roger Kimball – National Review Online.