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Hey, remember when you were younger and you learned that the United States is a democracy and that its government is run “of the people, by the people, for the people”? According to Howard Zinn, all that stuff about equality and freedom and the American way—well, it’s a bunch of crap. Zinn, a historian and professor emeritus at Boston University, has made a name for himself by fearlessly criticizing U.S. policy. His widely acclaimed—and extremely moving—A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present looks at this country’s past through the eyes of the traditionally oppressed: Native Americans, women, racial minorities, and prison inmates. Zinn’s latest works, Howard Zinn on History and Howard Zinn on War, are collections of essays that continue on this deeply critical path: Not only does he write about Columbus as a gold-hungry conqueror who sparked the genocide of natives across the Americas (On History), but he details the catastrophically devastating effects that continued U.S. sanctions against Iraq are having on the people in that country (On War). In short, the books are connected by the theme that our government lies to us. A lot. Zinn speaks at 7 p.m. Monday, March 19 at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Stefan Grudza)