Review: ‘A People’s History of American Empire’ by Howard Zinn
With the recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s no surprise that Howard Zinn has something to say. The author of A People’s History of the United States, Zinn retold America’s story through the eyes of all those who were beaten down in the country’s expansion.
Now he’s back with an updated account, albeit in a strange form. A People’s History of American Empire (Henry Holt, $30) is an illustrated version of the previous People’s History with notes on the current imperialistic efforts of the United States, as seen by Zinn. No graphic novel, it’s more of a slideshow of Zinn’s lectures. Here’s a sample put together by the publisher and narrated by Viggo Mortensen:
For those long familiar with Zinn’s writing, there’s nothing especially new here, though he does effectively tie in his past lessons to the current mess in the Middle East. And while Mike Konopacki’s art is impressive if sheerly for the quantity (a dense 250-plus pages), it’s not worth seeking out the book just for that.
The purpose of this book, more than anything, is to take Zinn’s message to new readers in a new way. In comics form, that message becomes easily digestible, though without losing any of its intellectual punch.
The story of the dark side of American history remains an important ones for the country’s youth. Now that story comes in a book they’re more likely to enjoy.