I'm terribly saddened by the death today of one of my intellectual heroes, Howard Zinn. I'm also saddened to realize that as news of his death travels, most Americans probably won't recognize his name. Zinn's masterwork, A People's History of the United States, opened my eyes, not only to the brutal and racist underpinnings of the country that I live in, but also to the fact that the "country" I live in should be more properly recognized as an empire.
A couple of years ago, Metropoltian Books released a graphic version of Zinn's own process of becoming aware of that fact: A People's History of American Empire. I bought it as soon as I heard about it, and appreciated its reminders about how much blood, suffering, and sacrifice "America" has extracted from racialized others, much of it for the sake of people like me. Here's a video, narrated by Viggo Mortensen, that introduces this book's key ideas (I also included this video in an earlier post, about America as an empire).
Thank you, Howard Zinn, for your awesome yet accessible insight, for your tireless activism, and for your inspiring optimism and faith in the power of us -- the people.