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Cultivating Compassion October 26th

Session 10: A People's History of the United States

We love a good story, with its protagonists and antagonists, plot twists and conflicts. As we read narratives of fact or fiction, it’s natural to identify with the hero and despise the villan. In his 1889 biography of Charles George Gordon, William Francis Butler observed, " it is the victor who writes the history and counts the dead, and to the vanquished in such a struggle there only remains the dull memory of an unnumbered and unwritten sorrow." We know that for every happening, there are at least as many stories as there are observers, often more. Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" attempts to give voice to those stories often unrepresented in our discussion of history. The result is devastating, but its goal is hope. Zinn says, “I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.”



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