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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 thefirst
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