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Dr. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States might be better titled A Proletarian’s History of the United States. In the first three chapters Zinn looks at not only the history of the conquerors, rulers, and leaders; but also the history of the enslaved, the oppressed, and the led. Like any American History book covering the time period of 1492 until the early 1760’s, A People’s History tells the story of the “discovery” of America, early colonization by European powers, the governing of these colonies, and the rising discontent of the colonists towards their leaders. Zinn, however, stresses the role of a number of groups and ideas that most books neglect or skim over: the plight of the Native Americans that had their numbers reduced by up to 90% by European invasion, the equality of these peoples in many regards to their European counterparts, the importation of slaves into America and their unspeakable travel conditions and treatment, the callous buildup of the agricultural economy around these slaves, the discontented colonists whose plight was ignored by the ruling bourgeoisie, and most importantly, the rising class and racial struggles in America that Zinn correctly credits as being the root of many of the problems that we as a nation have today. It is refreshing to see a book that spends space based proportionately around the people that lived this history. When Columbus arrived on the Island of Haiti, there were 39 men on board his ships compared to the 250,000 Indians on Haiti. If the white race accounts for less than two hundredths of one percent of the island’s population, it is only fair that the natives get more than the two or three sentences that they get in most history books. Zinn cites population figures, first person accounts, and his own interpretation of their effects to create an accurate and fair depiction of the first two and a half centuries of European life...

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