Originally published 02/09/2010
Rick Shenkman and Michael Kazin, writing six years apart, criticized Howard Zinn's historical method, and there is much to criticize. It's true we have seen many, many instances of people at the bottom or in the middle, the masses of people, going along with those in power or even leading the charge in the wrong direction. History is full of people rooting against their own class interests. We see a lot of that today.So, historians rightly have arguments with A People's History. It is not nuanced, it is not complex enough, it is wrong in particulars. Or maybe you think it is leads people in the wrong direction altogether, creating "the left's blind spot." Presumably, a bottom up view of history is pretty simple and absolves the masses from their culpability in the affairs of the state.