History professor and author Howard Zinn, well known for his populist A People's History of the United States, died in Santa Monica Wednesday at the age of 87,

Daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn said he suffered a heart attack. His most-famous tome dissected American heroes, accused Christopher Columbus of propagating genocide and slavery, and celebrated workers, leftists and iconoclasts. Published in 1980, it became a million-seller in 2003. Matt Damon, Benn Affleck and Oliver Stone were said to be fans of the book.

Bruce Springsteen is said to have based his album Nebraska on the history. Zinn is quoted as saying “There's no such thing as a whole story; every story is incomplete.”

But he had critics on both sides of the political spectrum. “He's a polemicist,” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. once said, “not a historian.”

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