A People's History of the United States

by Howard Zinn

Chapter by Chapter Critique

About Howard Zinn


Americans for Education Reform (AmFER) opposes the use of government funds to promote the Socialist indoctrination America's youth.

We believe that to maintain an viable, functioning, thriving Constitutional Republic requires an informed citizenry with an understanding of the inherent virtue of the American experiment.

We further believe that to achieve their full potential in life, Americans must believe in the nation's founding principles of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as a legitimate path to life's fulfillment. 

Unfortunately, a growing number of educators in the country push a narrative of America as an inherently evil nation, built on exploitation and injustice, and morally bankrupt today. These educators indoctrinate students with the Marxist socialist concept of economic determinism, telling students the nation is designed to keep them down and that attempting to work hard and get ahead is a sucker's game.

The primary textbook in this movement is A People's History of the United States by former Boston University Professor Howard Zinn. The book is less a history of the United States and more a work of agitational propaganda. Zinn described himself as "something of an anarchist, something of a socialist, and something of a Marxist." Zinn's book compares the United States history of racial strife to the Nazi Holocaust and calls the Communist government of 1960s China "the closest thing, in the long history of that ancient country, to a people's government." Zinn leaves out many of the most important events in American history, Washington’s Farewell Address, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate. The Wright Brothers, the Apollo space program, and Jonas Salk are completely absent.

Yet, A People's History of the United States has sold over two million copies and the book is used as a tool of anti-American indoctrination at all levels of the country's education system.

A growing number of university professors use the book in survey American history classes. One professor at Evergreen College in Washington State - which made headlines this year for attempting to ban all white people from campus - declared the book required reading "to give us a common background to begin the class."

According to Stanford University Professor Sam Wineburg, "for many students, A People's History will be the first full-length history book they read, and for some, it will be the only one." The book has become a cornerstone of Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum in high schools nationwide. According to National Review, the book may now be in use in more than 50 percent of AP U.S. History classrooms.​ Many school districts around the country now use the book in middle-schools as well, including the Miami-Dade County Public School system, the nation's fourth largest school district.

If this were just another shoddy piece of Marxist propaganda, it likely wouldn't have achieved near the reach or longevity this book has enjoyed (the book was first published in 1980 and is in its fifth edition). 

A People's History of the United States has in its corner an organization called the Zinn Education Project. The Zinn Education Project develops free lesson plans for educators at all levels, and even promotes a newer book called A Young People's History of the United States. The organization also issues hundreds of free copies of the book to teachers every year, so that even where the text is not a part of approved curriculum, Zinn's false history can still make inroads. 

The flagship project of Americans for Education Reform is the Education Integrity Pledge, a written promise by educators, administrators, legislators and candidates for office that commits them to oppose the use of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States in any taxpayer funding school. We intend to offer the Education Integrity Pledge to school board members and public school and university administrators and to all others committed to providing America's youth with an honest account of American history, free of racist, socialist, hate-filled lies. Parents and students have a right to know what sort of education they are receiving. Certification by Americans for Education Reform will give Americans piece of mind that Zinn's people is not being used in the classroom without their knowledge or against their will.

Additionally, Americans for Education Reform provides resources on correcting the errors found through A People's History of the United States, to ensure educators have the tools and knowledge they need to make an informed decision about the use of Zinn's book. We provide these resources 100% free of charge thanks to the generous support of our conributors.

AmFER is a nonprofit advocacy group. Contributions to Americans for Education Reform are not tax deductible.

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