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A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present by Howard Zinn **** (of 4)

Zinn flaunts his bias in an attempt to countermand the prevailing mythology of the U.S. and makes a convincing case that the country is not really a beacon of freedom, opportunity, equality, and justice. Rather, he argues, “‘Big Government’ began, in fact, with the Founding Fathers, who deliberately set up a strong central government to protect the interests of the bondholders, the slave owners, the land speculators, the manufacturers. For the next two hundred years, the American government continued to serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful, offering millions of acres of free land to the railroads, setting high tariffs to protect manufacturers, giving tax breaks to oil corporations, and using its armed forces to suppress strikes and rebellions (page 651).” Having just finished the book at the height of the Hurricane Katrina fiasco in which capital gains tax reform is law, FEMA is eviscerated, and the poor and black of the gulf coast are overlooked, Zinn’s historical arguments seem right on the mark. September 2005.