Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) was an American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker. He was chair of the history and social sciences department at Spelman College, and a political science professor at Boston University. Zinn wrote over twenty books, including his best-selling and influential A People's History of the United States. In 2007, he published a version of it for younger readers, A Young People's History of the United States.Zinn described himself as "something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a democratic socialist." He wrote extensively about the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement, and labor history of the United States. His memoir, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (Beacon Press, 2002), was also the title of a 2004 documentary about Zinn's life and work. Zinn died of a heart attack in 2010, at age 87.
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The skepticism of youth signals the beginning of a search for something actually worth trusting, both within one's own psyche and in the world. That's why teens, supposedly stuck in life's lost years, are often so unequivocal about what they love and what they hate, and so frustrated when they feel misunderstood. The adolescent spirit is not the spirit of the lost. It is the conviction that you are not lost — that wandering has a purpose, and that what you deserve more than anything is the freedom to walk awhile on your own path.