A People's History of the United States Questions and Answers
by Howard Zinn

A People's History of the United States book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are some similarities and differences between Zinn's A People's History of the United States and Paul Johnson's A History of the American People?

Expert Answers info

Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,871 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Whether they were written in dialogue with each other or not, Johnson's History of the American People and Zinn's A People's History of the United States are in many ways reactions to each other. Johnson writes against what he sees as disturbing trends in American historiography, especially the tendency among historians to emphasize racial and economic injustice. Johnson is not blind to these issues, but he argues throughout that they are not fundamental to the nation's story. Indeed, in his first chapter, entitled "A City on a Hill," he describes the creation of the United States as "the greatest of all human adventures," and points to America's struggles to "expiate its organic sins" of slavery and the dispossession of Native peoples. Johnson regards these crimes, and many others throughout American history, as anomalous in light of the commitment of the nation to liberty. In the end, he is more impressed by the American aspiration to liberty than he is the many ways it has failed to...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 606 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial