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Social historian Howard Zinn has died

January 27, 2010 |  4:40 pm

Howardzinn

Howard Zinn, the author of "A People's History of the United States" and several other books, has died. The Boston Herald reports he suffered a heart attack today in Santa Monica. Zinn was 87.

Zinn, a longtime professor at Boston University, was known for his left-wing politics. Born in New York, Zinn served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, where he became a second lieutenant. He attended New York University on the GI bill after the war, enrolling as a 27-year-old freshman; he did his postgraduate work at Columbia. As a young professor, he became a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War.

He published books on the Vietnam War, as well as other books on history and American society. But it was his 1980 book "A People's History of the United States" and its follow-up, "Voices of a People's History of the United States," that made him required reading. Literally -- "A People's History of the United States" presented American history from alternative perspectives, including native peoples, slaves, disenfranchised workers, farmers and women.

Zinn's works remain in print; a new edition of "Voices of a People's History of the United States" came out in November, and a revised edition of "A People's History of the United States" is set to be published in July.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Howard Zinn with actor Viggo Mortensen during a staged reading of "A People's History of the United States" in 2005. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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