[i][b]Plot Outline:[/b] The life and times of Howard Zinn: the historian, activist, and author of several classics including "A Peoples History of the United States". Archival footage, and commentary by friend, colleagues and Zinn himself[/i]
Well as with many titles I pick from the rental store, I often pick them arbitrarily after reading the synopsis. I had, to my now great shame, never even heard of Howard Zinn. Poor boy born in Brooklyn, joined the air force where he first became aware, as a bombardier, that they were needlessly bombing cities at the end of the war because there were Nazis, who where doing nothing but waiting for the war to end, no longer fighting, no longer a threat, but they were bombed anyway, killing many civilians of this small French town.
Zinn is a proponent of non-violente resistance. He writes: "The term 'just war' contains an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is to how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people." (Source) Now I need to read up on this because I fail to see how peaceful opposition to the Nazis could have worked, they were literally on a killing spree. How many more lives would have expired if we had not taken action. It's not like economic sanctions could work, the Nazis simply took what they wanted and killed all who got in their way. And don't get me wrong, I'm a pacifist through and through but I don't believe in passivity and I believe violence to be part of human nature despite what Zinn has to say about human nature.
Zinn is a PhD graduate from Columbia but ended up chairman of the department of history and social sciences and teaching at Spellman College, a then college for black women in Atlanta. And then the hell raising began... He became an advisor for the SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) and also mentored young student activists including Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman. He was also very involved in trying to end the war in Viet-Nam. Helping in the release of 3 airmen who were held as POWs. And testified as an expert in a trial and pointed out that the reasons for the war were fictitious and could cause embarrassment to some politicians and hurt some contractors vying for natural resources the country had to offer. And that there was no threat to America, hence making the war unjustifiable (Oh how history seems to repeat itself continuously)
He is also the writer of dozens of books.
The DVD was cut coldly though. I wanted to be inspired but the documentary was slow and rather dull. Thankfully I was in a position to learn much about this man which made it bearable and then man himself is interesting, especially when he gives a speech at the Veterans For Peace conference. That was quite interesting. And maybe it's because I've been moore-arised but I like to feel something when I watch a doc, I want to be moved by what is being documented. I mean look at the title of this DVD... yet the doc itself is rather neutral.
A deserving 3 outta 5 because it could have been better in my opinion.