Auchincloss and Zinn

February 1 2010

Deaths of two American chroniclers, a WASP novelist and a left-liberal historian. In reverse order:

Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States (1980). New York Times. Telegraph. London Times.

Not to be confused with Theodore Zeldin, author of An Intimate History of Humanity (1994). Nor with Theo Zinn, a classics master at my old school who wrote a Latin primer which is still in print and for whom a festschrift was written.

Louis Auchincloss, novelist, story-writer, biographer. New York Times. Telegraph. Guardian.

Vidal: “Not since Dreiser has an American writer had so much to tell us about the role of money in our lives.” Auchincloss quoted at New York Times: “That business of objecting to the subject material or the people that an author writes about is purely class prejudice, and you will note that it always disappears with an author’s death. Nobody holds it against Henry James or Edith Wharton or Thackeray or Marcel Proust.”

He seems remarkably readable. I’ve just ordered The Rector of Justin (1964), a novel about a prep school, like The Catcher in the Rye. The double obituaries are more likely to have been done with Salinger.

Zinn, unpredictably, on Obama, quoted in the London Times: “I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that he is going to be a mediocre president which means, in our time, a dangerous president unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.” Auchincloss, quoted in the Guardian: “I just think the Bushes are a big family of shits.” He must have been a Rockefeller Republican.

One Response to “Auchincloss and Zinn”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Isn’t Zinn’s book rather naïve?


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