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Julia Borger Blog Post for 8/30

After reading the first chapter of A People’s History of the United States, to say I am eager to keep reading and learning from this book would be an understatement. I loved how authentic the entire section felt, explaining the beginning of the discovery of the Americas without sugarcoating any details, widening my perspective on everything I was previously taught about Columbus and the early world explorers. I found many details astonishing and almost unbelievable, and found myself angry and disappointed in past textbooks, articles, and lectures that left this kind of information out to fit the mold of traditional history lessons. I believe all history textbooks should take notes from this book- not only because they need to update their lessons and details, but also to adapt their way of relaying the information. Instead of boring, monotonous facts we have all heard before, this was descriptive, fresh, and much more relevant, which helped establish a greater connection to its readers.


I also enjoyed reading the small excerpts written by the people of that time period, giving the reader a firsthand look into what was really going on at the time, and the writer’s opinions on it. I liked how it broke up the actual author’s text, adding evidence and proof to support their claim. I found Las Casas’ accounts of the way the Spaniards treated the Indians very compelling, especially when he said, “My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write” (7). It inspired me to begin writing in a journal again, because who knows what history books will want in 100 years!


Finally, I could not help thinking about the comparisons between the conquerors and the people of today. Although the world has changed considerably since 1492, primal human instincts are still the same- people desire things that are valuable to assert their dominance, and will stop at nothing to procure these things. Instead of valuable gold and land, they are pay checks and houses. People yearn for status, power, and wealth, and I don’t know if that will ever change, or what that will look like in the future.

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  1. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I also really liked the structure of the textbook as Zinn made the history surrounding Columbus feel more authentic and significant through the inclusion of multiple types of quotes like historians of the time, primary sources, and previous textbooks. I think this unique approach to showing multiple perspectives in history helped me engage and remember the content more, but I am not sure that is a shared opinion. I love your idea of starting to journal again because it is true, we really do not know what will be included in history especially when there are specific motives at play!

  2. Kathrine Yeaw Kathrine Yeaw

    I totally agree with the fact that this book is written in a really interesting way and makes me want to read more! It is definitely not your typical history textbook, not only for the way it is written, but because of the perspectives Zinn showed, and the way he exploits other historical books or any writings. I also liked your idea of how even though society has changed greatly since 1492, the thing the people desire the most, the thing that is the driving force for most peoples actions remains the same.

  3. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    This book with no doubt is interesting and eye-opening, and I agree with you thinking that every history book should use different angles and perspectives (including the stories of the minorities) when narrating a historical event; the same way this book did. I also agree that people nowadays are still greedy and have the same desires and instincts as they did many years ago, and I think it will always be a part of human nature.

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