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A People's History Of The United States Paperback – Jul 14 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 14 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060838655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060838652
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 621 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

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.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

About the Author

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.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29 2003
Format: Paperback
Of course this book is not meant to be read as an all-encompassing version of American history. It is meant to be read as a sidenote to the conventional American history we are taught for so many years in school. Of course it's biased, but then again the history textbooks we read in school were biased. Those books were written with an unquestioned assumption that America as a country (which is defined by its leaders in the books) has always been correct (or at least well-meaning), and has always had liberty, freedom, and justice as our main inspiration. The Revolutionary War was the perfect battle between good and evil and everyone benefitted. Loyalists were humorously tarred and feathered (never killed). Atrocities like our meddling in the Phillipines is glossed over or ignored. I also always was amused by the fact that I was forced to take about 5 years of American history from 1st-12th grade, but we always ran out of time before we got to Vietnam, Watergate, and Iran Contra. I was 13 before I found out ON MY OWN that we lost the Vietnam War!
I'll gladly read "conventional" history, but I also believe this is essential reading to go along with it. That doesn't make me Anti-American, a leftist wacko, a self-hating Communist, or whatever it is you'd like to label me and dismiss me as. I just want the full story. I just want the truth. We should all strive for that, however much it may bruise our egos and damage our pride. Admit there's room for improvement America! Read this book! :)
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Johny Johnson on July 24 2006
Format: Paperback
An absolutely jaw dropping account of our history. Rather than including blacks, natives, women, immigrants, workers and the poor's history in this book, I would say that Zinn basically excludes rich white men's history. The difference is beyond dumbfounding, its terrifying.

Indeed, this book is as scary in its implications as it is in its accounts of history. When 95% of books, television, and music come from exactly the people Zinn omits from this book, the phrase that comes to mind is "propaganda is to democracy - what violence is to totalitarianism."

A great book exposing the bias, propaganda, racism, oppression and murdurous nature inherent in our system.

Read.
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Format: Paperback
A quick look at the reviews for this book will tell you just how difficult it is for a reader of Zinn's works to whistle and walk on. Either one ends up savagely dismissing him as a petty caviller, or extolling his brand of "eye opening" wisdom. I doubt I can add anything purposeful to this seemingly hot debate because I approached this book with a different intent altogether.
I wanted this page of history to answer some of my business questions. How America came from a nowhere nation of vagrant Arawak Indian tribes just a few centuries ago to being a commerical (ok, and imperial) superpower in our times. My interest was not to equip myself with geewhiz anti-US trivia (although I picked up a fair bit on the way, tra la) but to answer the atavistic question of what promoted capitalistic thinking, meritocracy, love of freedom etc in the United states more than the rest of the planet (assuming this is true in the first place).
And in that department, I have to say that this book left me startled. It might sound presumptuous but the quick answer is that there is nothing specific in the history or the anthropological station of US in this century and the last that may have accentuated its drive for capitalism. What's more, America was and is, just like any other country on the planet, subject to the exact same vagaries of civilization/humanity/bigotry/dogma that make and mar an empire every few centuries or so. I also recognize why this is very difficult for Americans to identify with or agree to, specially Americans who typify the inward looking solipsism of the current generation and perhaps the last 2 or so.
I recommend this book highly as a VIEW of historical events that are difficult to deny occured.
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Format: Paperback
This was an excellent book because it offered me an angle to observe American histroy from which I had not previously been completely aware of. Although Zinn's views can sometimes go too far, I do think that even in the event of going too far he brings in new ideas that would provoke the reader into thinking about their veracity and therefore entering into a dialogue that does not always happen when reading. If you do not like liberal views this book is worth reading just to aquaint yourself with what the other side thinks and therefore strengthen your views from attacks; if you are liberal this book was written for you to salivate over. The many unmentioned or little mentioned groups of US history are given space in this book: women, blacks, unions, poor, etc. I found that I learned more about what is lamentable about America's past along with a greater appreciation for where America has come to be and where it still needs to go. A great thought provoking book that should be read by all Americans.
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By A Customer on May 14 2003
Format: Paperback
I always hated history all through school. I was so tired of hearing about how great every American was and the candy coated version of American history most students are fed from the begining of their public school education. When I was a junior in high school (a Catholic High School) my amazing, awesome history teacher gave us a photocopy (illegal, yes I know) of the first chpater of this book. He had to give us a photocopy of the book because the book had been banned from the educational program by the PTA because it was "Communist Prodaganda." He told us "I am giving this to you because I want you to that the book I am supposed to use is in no way 100% accurate. I want you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions about how America started." He was nice enough to give me his copy of the Peoples History, I read it like a novel. Since then I have become very passionate about American History. So passionate that it is my college major. This book is important, brilliant and an essential book to every American. I'm sure almost everyone remembers being asked in school "why do we study history?" and I'm also sure we all remember "because we have to know where we come from, history repeats itself." It's times like these that this rings so, so true. History is repeating itself as we speak, and we if we aren't educated on the truth of our history and our present, we are doomed to not have a future.
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