Why do Howard Zinn's books never get returned to the library?

In the library where I work, which is probably not dissimilar to most public libraries in the U.S., any of Howard Zinn’s books, but in particular “A People’s History of the United States” is always in demand and it is always checked out and it is almost always never returned.

I can understand the book being popular, but is it so compelling that you need to keep it forever? You can buy it in paperback. It’s not that expensive. We buy about a dozen copies per year and by the end of the year, there are usually one or two left.

Normally books that get checked and never returned are on topics more understandable, such as marijuana, witchcraft, sex, raising pit bulls. Stuff like that.

BECAUSE, Bob, you fascist pig, stealing books from the library is the disenfranchised proletariat’s way of getting back at the Man!
Howad, of all people, should understand.


Technically, they’re not stolen. They’re just checked out and never returned. That just makes them “lost”. In other words, we have a record of the person checking out the book and they can’t check out any more books until they return or pay for the one out.

I’d assume it’s because he’s such a Filthy Commie, destroying people’s minds…

I would assume that it is from poor students liberating the book from the fascist capitalist oppressor government.

So why do Ann Coulter’s books always get returned?

Her readers are good responsible citizens who respect property rights. Although you may notice a few dents in the books from the beating they were used to give the Zinn readers.

Upon further examination, many other heroes of the left: Pancho Villa and Che Guevara, in particular, are also popular topics for “longterm” checkouts at the library.

Strom Thurmond books are always available.

Can I also assume that many people follow Abbie Hoffman’s advice regarding what to do with books?

Abbie Hoffman must be passe, because nearly all the copies of “Steal This Book” are still on the shelf.

Could it be that “A People’s History” is just so danged long? I’m a fast reader and it still took me weeks to plow through it. Maybe some folks check it out and end up taking their time finishing it.

But the commie bastard theory seems more plausible.

“The United States of America, A Complete History, Volume I. Jesus…You wanna read a real History book, read Howard Zinn’s People of the United States, that book will fuckin’ knock you on your ass.”

Zinn: all the negative, none of the positive. Maybe your patrons are extending this idea? :o

A good perspective on this (Zinn and focusing on the negative portions of US history) can be found in Ambrose’s To America.

Another frequently “lost” book is “Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?”, by arch-skeptic and adversary of Holocaust revisionists Michael Shermer. Every public and collegiate library i’ve checked has it listed as lost or overdue. One can hardly avoid imagining a vast cabal of neo-Nazi conspirators struggling to keep the book off the shelves.

My library has three copies of that ready and waiting for anyone to check out.

But as for Zinn and mentioned earlier in this thread, did the “Good Will Hunting” mention of him boost his popularity that much?

I’m going to take an unpopular stance, I’m sure, and say that it’s just more likely for the reactionary right to try to silence the Evil Commie than it is for the bleeding heart liberals to silence the crazy nazi people.

I would have thought books about suicide would be the least likely to be returned.

Well, the demand for eye-witness accounts of the Revolutionary War isn’t what it used to be.