10 Jun

Just finished A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and felt like writing about it here briefly. This book is thick but reads like a fast-moving series of articles detailing a new perspective on this country’s history. I will simply say that it is in stark contrast to the history I was taught in school.

Zinn tells stories more from the perspective of those who have not made it in this land of opportunity. Or perhaps more specifically, those who have often been trampled on. One particular piece that stays with me was his look at the colonization of this country with details about Christopher Columbus and a perspective on native American people that I feel like I knew but never quite grasped.

I admit I’m not sure what to do with this book. It’s interesting that I read it both before and after this past week at Duke where Dawn and I spent time talking about reconciliation from a Biblical worldview. Reconciliation can not be properly discussed without looking at issues of power. I find myself convinced that in this country, power exists in the hands of a very few.

And yet at the same time, I believe that God uses people to change the world, often by beginning in small ways. Thus we create power, or at least merge the small amount power each one of us has together, often in opposition to the existing power structures.

I wonder what our generation will do with this country. Will those of us that are able (through privilege, education, etc.) to embrace all that we can obtain for ourselves? Or will we give up that right and choose instead to give our lives for the sake of others?


4 Responses to “Power”

  1. Steve June 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    Zinn’s book seems to be standard fare in intro US history courses in college, but it is nothing more than the usual leftist take on how terrible white people are. I don’t mean to insult you by describing it as such, but that books makes my head spin. A good counter on the conservative side of things is Paul Johnson’s “A History of the American People.” I also recommend Bill Bennett’s 2 Volume “America: The Last Best Hope.”

  2. Shane June 14, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    Not feeling insulted, simply wishing I had bother to take a history course in college. My dad had something similar to say and helped me to realize how slanted the read was. I admit I was simply intrigued about how opposite it was from what I learned in grade school. Imagine the truth is somewhere in between. Personally I don’t think white people are any worse than anyone else, I just think in this country it’s them who have been in charge and I do know what most sinful people do with power. Certainly there are lots of great things to point out about what this country has done, I just think in my upbringing somehow alot of the negative things were left out. Do you have those books? I might like to borrow them sometime.

  3. Steve June 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    I only have Vol. 1 of America: The Last Best Hope, but you’re welcome to borrow it anytime.

  4. Shane June 15, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    Be glad to take a look. Can you bring it tomorrow night to the party?


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