On Sunday, December 13, The History Channel will air "The People Speak," a program narrated by Howard Zinn and based on his seminal work A People's History of the United States.
The program features actors reading letters, accounts, etc. from actual people in American history. Zinn's focus is on "ordinary people," as opposed to the "Great Man" approach, which would focus on luminaries like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. And his focus is almost always on "ordinary" Americans suffering in the shadows.
In this clip from the forthcoming film, we see what amounts to an endorsement of the mutiny in George Washington's army...
"From 'The People Speak' -- Mutiny in George Washington's Army"
For my own part, having read of this incident in the American Revolution, General Washington had little choice but to clamp down hard on this mutiny. That he sympathized with the plight of his army is proven by all his letters and appeals to Congress, governors, and private businessmen for aid. But in order to keep his army together and win the war, Washington couldn't allow disorder and mutiny to go unpunished. He had to act.
And this perspective - Washington's perspective - gets short shrift from "historians" like Howard Zinn. That the spotlight of history should, at times, shine on everyday Americans is commendable. For that, Zinn has done some good. But to put the spotlight EXCLUSIVELY on the "ordinary Americans" who are often suffering, and then caricature their leaders as their enemies is only accurate in some occasions. To do so on a regular basis, as Zinn does, is frankly reprehensible.
To anyone who watches this program, which comes from one of the most anti-American "historians" on the stage today, I urge caution.