Since emails were uncovered from former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels last month criticizing Howard Zinn’s book A People’s History of the United States, demand for it has increased at Indiana public libraries.
Daniels, now president of Purdue University, wrote the emails in 2010. In them, he calls the book a “truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page.”
That criticism has forced local libraries to increase its holdings of Zinn’s book. Until recently, the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana had just one copy of A People’s History, but with the recent demand, the library purchased 19 more print copies and four electronic copies, reported WSBT-TV. As of August 12, every single one of those copies was checked out and there were 10 people on the waiting list.
“I think the interest is because of Daniels questioning the book,” Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Township Public Library Director David Eisen told WSBT. His library in Mishawaka owns one copy of the book, which is currently checked out and has two holds on it. They have ordered another three copies to keep up with demand.
The book was published in 1980 and initially 4,000 copies were printed. Since then, 2.2 million copies have been sold, more than half of those have been sold in the past decade.
Zinn has been both praised and criticized for his telling of history. In his book he says the founding fathers were self-serving elitists defined by “guns and greed.”