Stories Hollywood Never Tells: Howard Zinn, Audio Book By Sean Carswell

Howard Zinn strikes me as an amazing writer, historian, and intellectual for several reasons. He delivers very complex information with a conversational tone, and he maintains a sense of humor when speaking of things that normally inspire outrage. When he speaks of war, he speaks of it from the perspective of both a veteran of war and a veteran of anti-war movements. When he speaks of the working class, he does it from the perspective of a man who grew up in cold-water flats in Brooklyn, then went on to work in shipyards and warehouses. And when he speaks about history, he does so from the perspective of a well-respected scholar who has spent most of his life studying history. What’s most striking to me is that, despite his tendency to return most conversations back to how unjust war is or back to the inequities of wealth, every time I read (or listen to) Howard Zinn, I learn something new. “Stories Hollywood Never Tells” keeps up that trend. This CD was recorded during a lecture Zinn gave at the Taos Talking Film Festival. Zinn begins by speaking of Hollywood movies that glorify war, like “Saving Private Ryan.” but then he expands his focus to cover the Mexican War, the Phillipino War, Mother Jones, the Ludlow Massacre, and the New England textile strikes. It’s a dazzling tour through not only films that are rarely made (I won’t say never because John Sayles made “Matewan,” which is a great movie about the Wobblies helping miners in West Virginia form a union), but also through events in history that public schools gloss over or ignore completely. If you’ve never heard of Howard Zinn and are maybe a little intimidated by the terms that float around him like “radical historian” or “intellectual,” this CD is a warm, non-threatening introduction to Zinn’s scholarship, his subtle sarcasm, and his point of view. If you’ve read everything Howard Zinn has ever written, you’ll probably still find something new and interesting in this CD. (Alternative Tentacles, PO Box 419092, SF, CA 94141)