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Howard Zinn, a decorated war veteran, was brought up in a blue-collar immigrant family in Brooklyn, and flew bombing missions in Europe during World War II, an experience that shaped his opposition to war. He attended New York University on the GI bill, graduating with a B.A. in 1951, and Columbia University, where he earned an M.A. (1952) and Ph.D. (1958) in political science. In 1956, he became chair of history and social science at Spelman College in Atlanta, a school for black women, where he soon became involved in the Civil Rights movement, advising the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)-- chronicled, in his book SNCC: The New Abolitionists. When he was fired in 1963 for insubordination related to his protest work, he moved to Boston University, where he became a leading critic of the Vietnam War. Zinn was best known for A People's History of the United States, a detailed work which presents American history through the eyes of ordinary people outside of the political and economic establishment: workers, Native Americans, slaves, women, blacks, Populists, and other minorities. Since its publication in 1980, the book has been assigned reading as a high school and college textbook and has sold over a million copies. Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as "A People's History of the United States," inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died January 27, 2010, in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling. He was 87.
The Myth of American Exceptionalism
as author at MIT World Series: Myths About America,