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Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian.

Howard Zinn, the eminent author of A People's History of the United States, has collected in this slim volume the essays he has written over a number of years for such journals as Civil Liberties Review (now defunct) and Z magazine; the transcripts of a radio interview and a few public lectures, and even an angry op-ed-style piece about the 1986 bombing of Tripoli, which found no takers among the nation's newspaper editors. He deals as well with topics as diverse as the First Amendment, higher education, and "just and unjust wars." I.F. Stone's late-in-life study of Socrates provokes Zinn into a reexamination of Plato. And he thinks he knows why Marx once said, "Je ne suis pas un Marxiste": There was this young German hero-worshipper who kept pestering the Great Man - organizing Karl Marx Clubs and such. "This guy was a total |noodnik,'" Zinn tells us, then adds parenthetically, "There are |noodniks' all along the political spectrum stationed ten feet apart, but there is a special Left Noodnik, hired by the police, to drive revolutionaries batty." Finally, the closing essay, which lends its title to the book, is vintage Zinn, full of hope, taking a hard look at his students in the late 1980s - without finding the apathy, conservatism, and selfishness that caused others to label them "the me generation."
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Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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