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Columbus Day 2010: 5 Books That Expose The Scandals, Violence And Dubious Tactics Of America's Discoverer (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 10/11/10 08:18 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:00 PM ET

Today is Columbus Day 2010 -- a day when Americans celebrate the man who allegedly discovered America. Nearly 500 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, the United States declared October 12th -- or the nearest Monday -- a federal holiday in honor of the national hero.

Yet in more recent years the heroic status of Columbus has been challenged. Authors from Howard Zinn to Richard Shenkman have written new histories of America, offering shocking evidence of the imperfections and scandals that surrounded Columbus. Called everything from a "rapist" to an "idiot," Columbus Day now occupies the position of a bonafide controversy in the annals of America.

Here's are just a few books that expose the underbelly of the Columbus' myth. We're sure we missed some good ones. But here's the real question: should Columbus Day be celebrated or be ignored?

'A People's History of The United States' by Howard Zinn
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Perhaps the seminal text of revisionist American History, "A People's History of The United States" offers a scathing portrait of the man once hailed as the discoverer of America.

Zinn reports that Columbus wrote about the Arawk people in his journal:

"They would make fine servants ... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."

Zinn also writes:

"To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves- unwittingly-to justify what was done. My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)-that is still with us."

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