In the book, Zinn presented a different side of history from the more traditional "fundamental nationalist glorification of country". Zinn portrays a side of American history that can largely be seen as the exploitation and manipulation of the majority by rigged systems that hugely favor a small aggregate of elite rulers from across the orthodox political parties. A People's History has been assigned as reading in many high schools and colleges across the United States. It has also resulted in a change in the focus of historical work, which now includes stories that previously were ignored
Library Journal calls Howard Zinn’s book “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those…whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories.”
Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, and social activist. He was a shipyard worker and a bombardier with the U.S. Army Air Force in Europe during the Second World War before he went to college under the GI Bill and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Zinn taught at Spelman College and Boston University, and was a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Bologna. He received the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Upton Sinclair Award, and the Lannan Literary Award. He lived in Auburndale, Massachusetts.