90 Miles From Tyranny : How To Replace Howard Zinn’s Communist Account Of U.S. History For American Kids

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

How To Replace Howard Zinn’s Communist Account Of U.S. History For American Kids

Americans' affections for and knowledge of their country need to be fed. The lovely new history 'Land of Hope' does so. Another new book, 'Debunking Howard Zinn,' provides medicine to those food cannot restore.
The perfect companion accompanied my family’s trip West this summer in the modern covered wagon: A new, single-volume book of U.S. history. As our RV motored across the plains, I read of how they were discovered and settled. I looked across the prairies, the badlands, and the mountains and imagined myself coming in an ox-drawn cart instead of a motor vehicle with a gas stove and bathroom.

“Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story,” by University of Oklahoma historian Wilfred McClay, is extremely readable. It’s written in a conversational but not casual tone, and thus approachable to readers from around age ten onward (if the ten-year-old is accustomed to reading large books like “The Lord of the Rings,” as mine is). An attractive writing style may be its first virtue, because an open door is required for people to enter.

A second virtue is the book’s brevity. To be sure, it is a large and somewhat heavy volume, of 429 pages not including the end material. But that is not too much gas for racing across approximately 500 years of history. I found myself constantly wishing to hear more about the people and ideas in the book, and sad but understanding to instead be whisked away to the next set. Thankfully, McClay provides an extensive “additional reading” list to help satisfy a problem inherent to writing a one-volume overview of American history.

Considering a new book of American history requires, however, more than structural basics like these. Context is extremely pertinent. “Land of Hope” is published in a year in which hatred of America seems bigger than ever.

To take a recent and prominent example, The New York Times, once the United States’ paper of record, has newly released the “1619 Project,” named after the year in which African slaves first arrived on American shores. The project purports to be a work of history: “aim[ing] to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

But it is better described as anti-history propaganda. To take just one demonstration of this, its premise and name fully ignores that Native Americans frequently enslaved each other on this continent long before Europeans arrived. It also sidelines the fact that most of the African slaves brought to the Americas were sold by...

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1 comment:

Spin said...

1619 fist salve owner in the Americas was a BLACK MAN. It was actually an indentured servant relationship and when the 7 year time frame had passed. The BLACK MAN sued to have the indentured servant returned to him as a life long servant and WON. Creating the first government appointed slave in America upheld by the courts. I'm sure the Paper of Record will rewrite this little historical point.