Rebutting David Greenberg's Hit Job on Howard Zinn
Jesse Lemisch March 20, 2013
The March 25 issue of The New Republic offers a lengthy piece by Rutgers professor David Greenberg, “Agit-Prof: Howard Zinn’s Influential Mutilations of American History.” The essay presented as a review of Martin Duberman’s Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left (2012) [read the review by Ron Briley, the book editor of History News Network (HNN), here], ranges widely, with attacks on Staughton Lynd and myself, the American Historical Association’s Radical Caucus of 1969, New Left historians; and with positive words about other historians, including consensus historians and Eugene Genovese—who Greenberg calls, in the understatement of the year, “cantankerous.”
Here are critical responses submitted to TNR -- and posted on HNN -- by myself, Staughton Lynd, and Robert Cohen. Lynd and I, New Left historians, were leading participants in the 1969 Radical Caucus, and the caucus ran Lynd for president of the association. At that same tumultuous 1969 meeting, I presented the paper which was later published as On Active Service in War and Peace: Politics and Ideology in the American Historical Profession (Toronto 1975). Cohen (NYU) is author of a biography of Mario Savio and other books, and, on HNN, “When Assessing Zinn, Listen to the Voices of Teachers and Students.” He is editing for publication Zinn’s 1963 Spelman College diary.