From Zinn's perspective, history should not be told from the standpoints of generals or presidents, but through that of people who struggle for their rights, who engage in strikes, boycotts, slave rebellions and the like. Its purpose should be to encourage similar behavior today. Indeed, Zinn candidly said that history was not about "understanding the past," but rather, about "changing the future." That statement alone should have disqualified anyone from referring to him as a historian.Howard Zinn presented a pedestrian view of American history, a view that found popularizers in small minds like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Ultimately it was insulting to both the profession and the people he championed. The future may need changing but what history has shown is the alternative systems, socialism and communism, no doubt favorites of Zinn, were wisely relegated to the dustbins. The historical illiteracy we face today is part of Zinn's legacy.
More on Zinn here.