Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tonight -- Howard Zinn's "The People Speak"

Cover of the Star Tribune's On TV Magazine with half of Howard Zinn's face showing under a LAST TRIAL ISSUE wrapperThe Star Tribune seems to think it can get me to pay extra for a slightly expanded version of something I used to get as part of the Sunday paper. They are sadly mistaken.

However, seeing this last trial issue of their "new" On TV Magazine did make me do a double take. Wait, I thought, is that Howard Zinn peeking out from under those big red letters?

And sure enough, it is. Tonight, the History Channel will be airing a show called "The People Speak." Combining dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries and speeches of regular Americans, the show brings alive the voices of people who spoke up for social change. Some well-known, some unknown, but from what I can tell, all powerful and well worth hearing.

It sounds like it's intended to be a short, accessible form of Zinn's phenomenal book A People's History of the United States. All I can hope is that it will motivate a lot of people to read the book, because it's a transformative experience. (At least, it was for me when I read it in the mid-1980s. I plan to reread it soon.)

The show is on tonight at 7:00 p.m. Central. There's lots more about the show at, including a recent interview with Bill Moyers.

Bill Moyers interviewing Howard Zinn
One final interesting fact I never knew: The show's co-producer, actor Matt Damon, grew up next to the Zinns outside Boston. When he was 10, Damon was given a copy of A People's History, and he took it to his teacher on Columbus Day and said, "What is this? We're here to celebrate this great event, but two years after Columbus discovered America, 100,000 Indians were dead, according to Howard Zinn."

1 comment:

Ms Sparrow said...

I wondered who that guy was--thanks for the info.

I wanted to let you know (given your interest in maps) that the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine has a fascinating article on the first map showing a place called America.