A paragmatic example of a courageous, engaged, politicized, and principled academic who made a difference in the world and clearly and effectively linked theory and history to politics and social change. Zinn puts pompous postmodernists, animal studies careerists, and countless other abstract and detached academic opportunists to shame. This is how it is done.
The life and times of Howard Zinn: the historian, activist, and author of several classics including “A Peoples History of the United States”. Archival footage, and commentary by friend, colleagues and Zinn himself.
This rousing documentary uses Howard Zinn’s life to tell the story of political activism in the 20th century and beyond, from the anti-Fascist protests of the late 30s and early 40s, through WWII and post-war unionism, to the civil rights movement in the South, the Vietnam War, and Iraq. Zinn was an active participant in all of these movements, giving a white, academic, radical voice to people fighting for respect and justice around the world, often risking his own life and livelihood.
A shipyard worker when WWII broke out, Zinn saw first-hand the damage of war when he signed up for the U.S. Air Force. Amazing color footage of the first rough, hand-made WWII napalm bombs lend a startling vividness to Zinn’s description of his understanding, post-war, of the deadly reality of a soldier’s job.
With narration taken entirely from Zinn’s own writing, read by actor Matt Damon, filmmakers Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller skillfully capture the spirit of Zinn’s life work.
“I start from the supposition that the world is topsy turvy. That things are all wrong. That the wrong people are in jail, and the wrong people are out of jail. That the wrong people are in power, and the wrong people are out of power. I start with the supposition that we don’t have to say too much about this because all we have to do is think about the state of the world today and realize that things are all upside down.” The Zinn Reader, 1997