In The American Conservative, Paul Gottfried makes the case that Communist historian, Howard Zinn was more like a Taft Republican when it came to foreign policy. Gottfried writes (abridged):
In an interview with historian Wilfred McClay in the Wall Street Journal, Naomi Schaefer Riley praises McClay’s recently published American history textbook “for reclaiming American history from Howard Zinn.
”Zinn is the Brooklyn-born Jewish social radical (and lifelong communist fellow-traveler) who died at the age of 87 in 2010, while swimming in a pool in Santa Monica, California. He published his radically leftist People’s History of the United States in 1980, which has sold over two million copies. The book has been adopted as an educational tool for American public schools and serialized on public TV here and in Europe.
Zinn’s strength as a moral activist against capitalism, racism, and war may have led to his demonstrable weakness. His People’s History offers scant proof for its bold assertions, and parts of his long polemic have clearly been plagiarized from the works of other social radicals, a conspicuous problem that his critic Mary Grabar has painstakingly documented in her very pointed work, Debunking Howard Zinn.
In many of his antiwar statements, Zinn, far more than his contemporary critics in the conservative movement, sounds like a Taft Republican.
He deplored America’s entry into World War I, the use of Irish immigrants as cannon fodder in the Civil War, and the failure to seek a negotiated peace to end our war with Japan. He was led to his antiwar convictions by having dropped napalm on fleeing civilians as a bombardier in World War II. The memory of that act never left him. Thus we find inklings of what once passed for American conservatism in this unlikely source. Perhaps we on the traditional Right should cut this deceased radical from Brooklyn a bit of slack.
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