September 10, 2008
O Magazine (October 2008)
A People’s History of the United States
By Howard Zinn
I’ve known Howard for a long time—right now I’m producing a 15-hour educational series with him and Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Matt Damon called The People Speak, which is based on our trips across the country, reading from the book. We’ve gotten amazing people to do songs and speeches, from Eddie Vedder to Sean Penn to Viggo Mortensen. I think it’s an incredibly rebellious book, because it’s from the point of view of the citizens and victims. I was appalled to learn of the atrocities committed and allowed by our country throughout history. For instance, you hear about slavery, and yes, you feel you have a good perspective on what it was, but then you read this and realize that you didn’t know that one-third of the people who were transported from Africa actually died on the ships. This is the most empowering book I’ve ever read. In fact, the reason I picked the school my girls go to is that it teaches A People’s History.
Josh Brolin stars as George W. Bush in the film W and appears in the film Milk. His documentary television series, The People Speak, will air in 2009.