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« Dog whistles, Elfin Sounds, and Standing in the Way of Progress | Main | Stop Complaining... Start Writing! »


A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

By an everyday book reader
April 1, 2007

If your last experience of American history was brought to you by junior high school textbooks - or even if you're a specialist - get ready for the other side of stories you may not even have heard. With its vivid descriptions of rarely noted events, A People's History of the United States is required reading for anyone who wants to take a fresh look at the rich, rocky history of America.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.

A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present
by Howard Zinn

Softcover: 768 pages
ISBN: 9780060838652, 0060838655
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
August 2005

Consistently lauded for its lively, readable prose, this revised and updated edition of A People's History of the United States turns traditional textbook history on its head.

Howard Zinn infuses the often-submerged voices of blacks, women, American Indians, war resisters, and poor laborers of all nationalities into this thorough narrative that spans American history from Christopher Columbus's arrival to an afterword on the Clinton presidency.

Addressing his trademark reversals of perspective, Zinn - a teacher, historian, and social activist for more than 20 years - explains, "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. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth."

"Professor Zinn writes with an enthusiasm rarely encountered in the leaden prose of academic history, and his text is studded with telling quotations from labor leaders, war resisters and fugitive slaves. There are vivid descriptions of events that are usually ignored, such as the great railroad strike of 1877 and the brutal suppression to the Philippine independence movement at the turn of this century. Professor Zinn's chapter on Vietnam - bringing to life once again the free-fire zones, secret bombings, massacres and cover-ups - should be required reading for a new generation of students now facing conscription." - Eric Foner, New York Times Book Review

Howard Zinn is a historian, playwright, and social activist. He was a shipyard worker and Air Force bombardier before he went to college under the GI Bill and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has taught at Spelman College and Boston University, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Bologna. He has received the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Upton Sinclair Award, and the Lannan Literary Award. He lives in Auburndale, Massachusetts. Howard Zinn is author of many books and plays, including A Power Governments Cannot Suppress.

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