11.16.2004

howard zinn, my hero

You know I've been quoting Howard Zinn for the last few weeks. I finished the book yesterday, and I want to recommend it to everyone.

Zinn is a historian, activist, writer, speaker. He's most famous for writing A People's History of the United States, which is American history from the point of view of Native Americans, slaves, women, working people, poor people - a kind of reverse history. He's also one of my big heroes.

You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train is Zinn's memoirs as a civil rights and peace activist in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He fought in WWII, and his experiences in that war helped shape him into an anti-war activist.

The book is largely about activism - how any small action we can take is significant and worthwhile, how our actions can't be judged by immediate results, but are cumulative.

Zinn is also an incurable optimist. He has tremendous hope and spirit, and makes me feel proud just to march alongside him (metaphorically speaking).

For me Moving Train was the perfect antidote to the helplessness, depression, even despair I felt from this election. It lifted my spirits so much. It's short, easy to read - and you might be similarly inspired!

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