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A People's History of the United States

by Howard Zinn

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What important points does Zinn make about the writing of history?

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The original question had to be edited.  I would suggest that one critical point that Zinn makes regarding the writing of history is that it reflects those in the position of power.  "Winners write history" is a statement that Zinn would support in explaining how historical narratives have traditionally silenced voices.  For Zinn, the composition of history has been a process in which individuals in the position of power have been praised for their status.  In the writing of history, Zinn demands that the reader appropriate a critical consciousness and ask what economic, political, or social agenda is being served by the writing of history.  This becomes one of the critical points that Zinn makes about the writing of history.

Another similar point is in how Zinn demands that history involve representation.  Zinn believes that if individuals commit themselves to assembling the voices of the dispossessed, the economically challenged, and the political and socially marginalized voices, a more comprehensive view of history will emerge.  For Zinn, individuals have to make a conscious choice.  If democracy is to be embraced and understood, then individuals have to commit to collecting narratives that have been silenced by traditional methods of historical data collection.  Failing to do this means individuals do not represent democratic notions of the good.  It is this point that makes Zinn such an interesting thinker about the notion of history. 

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