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on March 23, 2017
The book was an eye opener; unfortunately, not much has changed in World and Unite3d States of America.
The rich are still using and abusing the poor and the so-called middle class and aboriginals all over the world.
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on April 7, 2017
Extremely informative. A very sad read at times but glad that I've digested this more accurate version of U.S. history (rather than state education boards' versions that all falsely say, "America: We're So Awesome").
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on April 12, 2017
An a non United Statian (Canadian) and in the context of the actual US politics, this is a MUST read book.
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on March 27, 2017
Marvelous book! Is sad the opposition regarding it use as a recommended lecture in some parts of the USA.
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on June 9, 2004
Howard Zinn doesn't claim to say the absolute truth. And neither should any serious historian. Of course he has a point of view, which is something that should be beyond criticism in any postmodern society. As for the ones that feel unconfortable with Zinn (and Chomsky, Gore Vidal and the like): it's absurd to say that siding with the downtrodden, with the humble, with the conquered and with the minorities (who made the US but them?) is equally as biased as siding with the privileged, the rich and the mainstream. The latter is what any history book does and nobody seemed to frown till not very long ago. Now has come the time to overcome this by denouncing the injustice that has piled up for so long. Because the only chance the real people have in finding their proper side in history is through histories like this one, where they're not ignored but strenghtened as the real protagonists of this we call history, otherwise mummified by president-only textbooks. It's a great achievement not only for its neccesarily radical content but because it's an amazingly entertaining read, something not many mainstream historians can boast of.
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on February 8, 2003
Dr. Zinn starts off with Colombus's first encounter with the Americas. That is to say, with the Arawak indians, whom, Colombus wrote in his diary were very naive and friendly and offered him many gifts. After these observations, Colombus wrote that they would make fine servants and that with fifty men "we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we wan't." Zinn quotes De La Casas's description of the enslavement and genocide of the Carribean Indians. He notes that the great historian Samuel E. Morrison used the word "genocide" to describe Colombus's policies back in his celebrated book on Colombus in 1954. However this is lost in the middle of a book slobbering over Colombus as a courageous sailor and one driven by a devotion to god.
He notes that African societies also had slaves. But their systems were like European serfdom. Slaves could marry into their masters family, own property, testify in court. All in societies more egalitarian and with women considerably more empowered than in European societies. In contrast to the race-based chattel slavery peculiar to the Americas.
Zinn's overriding point in this book is that class warfare is as During the revolutionary war there was continuing riots of the poor over the profiteering of merchants and the impressment of poor people into the army (the rich could get out by paying a few hundred dollars for a substitute).
The constitution was written by the wealthy minority of the country, he points out, who devised a very strong central government. He quotes James Madison explaining in Federalist paper #10 that the constitution aimed to eliminate factional strife and he listed the principle causes of such strife: demands for redistribution of land held by the wealthy elite, the issuing of paper money to pay off debts and any other "improper and wicked object."
He writes about Andrew Jackson from the point of view of the southern Indians whom he helped drive off by encouraging terror against them and a lust for new land by speculators. He notes the case of Samuel Worcester and his missionary colleagues who were sentenced to hard labor by the state of Georgia for supporting the rights of the Cherokees, with Jackson refusing to enforce the ruling of the Supreme court saying that the arrest of Worcester & co. violated the Indian treaties. This in contrast to Jackson's attacks on South Carolina for refusing to accept a federal tarrif, an episode that so engrosses modern historians.
He writes interestingly that the populist movement was a complex movement. A multi-racial political machine actually elected blacks and whites locally in East Texas in the 1890's before being destroyed by white supremacist terror. Texas and Arkansas and Georgia populists actually tried to be multi-racial; for instance the 1896 Georgia populist party platform condemned lynching even while populists in the Georgia legislature were passing waves of anti-black legislation.
He gives an interesting statistic about the Spanish-American war. Only about 380 of 5,000 plus deaths of American soldiers during the war died in combat. The rest were subjected to bad living conditions, having to use food and other resources of bad quality sold by contractors to the government at hugely inflated prices. He notes government reports about food poisoning in soldier's food. Far from the first time he shows. He gives the example of J.P. Morgan during the Civil War making a fortune selling defective guns at inflated prices that he gotten from the army back to the army, and resulted in many soldiers getting maimed. He quotes the reports of soldiers, journalists and others from that war of the mass atrocities, mass tortures and the extreme racism of that war fought to "civilize" the filipinos. He notes that labor was initially uneasy about the war before it began. He quotes an International Machinists union journal writer who pointed out that at about the time the U.S.S. Maine was mysteriously blown up and much anguish in the American media followed, massacres of American workers like the 18 protesting miners who were gunned down in Pennslyvania after refusing to disperse for police, elicited no noticeable outrage.
The "progress" made by Industrialization he points was not shared with the majority of Americans. He notes that while many immigrants came to America during this period, many of them would leave. Agitation during the "progressive" era compelled tiny reforms and tokenism by the white supremacist Theodore Roosevelt. Socialists picked up as much of a third of the votes in places like Chicago and New York in 1917. The IWW was at the height of its influence. He quotes the Committee on Industrial relations that 35,000 people were killed and 700,000 injured at work in 1914 alone. In the 1920's during the "Jazz age" there were about 25,000 workers killed and 100,000 permanently disabled annualy, he writes. He notes that in this great period, supposedly stimulated by 1923 tax cuts for the rich, 42 percent of families made less than a 1,000 dollars a year. 1/10 of one percent of the top one percent of families owned as much wealth as the bottom 42 percent. He quotes letters of people to congressman Fiorello Laguardia of people expressing the anguish of barely surviving from day to day.
The New Deal, he writes, was designed only to stabilize the capitalist system. Roosevelt was against the Wagner bill granting basic rights to workers until the strikes in Minneapolis and San Francisco in late 1934 made passing the bill necessary for stability. He points out that 9 million people were still unemployed in 1938. There were 4 million unemployed at the end of the last economic slump back in 1921.
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on June 18, 2017
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on August 2, 1998
No matter one's political leanings, this entertaining and informative book details the side of history we weren't taught - or is it indoctinated? - in high school. The only thing preventing me from giving this much needed kick-in the-rear book by Howard Zinn a five star rating is the fact that he presumes that only Women, children, social misfits and non-Europeans (ie. minorities) are the ones to wear the - excuse me - "White" hats; or, in other words, these people were exploited and victimized by us Mainstream White folks, namely heterosexual males of Western European stock, unabashed perpetrators of evil. If one were to take Mr. Zinn's word for everything about history he or she would be as wrong as the naive acceptance of that garbage spoon-fed to many of us back in high school. On the other hand, a book like Mr. Zinn's is much needed to give balance to a history. Let's give him five stars for guts.
Though brilliant and articulate in most respects,! and well-researched in presenting the flip side, A People's History of the USA fails to acknowledge that not all White heterosexual males are the villains in history.
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on May 22, 2017
awesome and very well. This is a wonderful product at an awesome price point. Out of the packaging, it was ready to use, with no sharpening required. No tearing, no pulling, easy to clean, and a nice grip. love it . my parents need it, good.
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on March 27, 2004
I have a few things to say to those who are quick to attack Zinn for this book being biased. well OBVIOUSLY! Didn't you read the book? He admits openly that the book is biased. It is a reaction to the biased history books that are shoved down our throats in school. Except this time, we get to read a biased book coming from the other perspective, therefore by reading both biases, one can decide for themselves which side they feel prevails over the other, or whether they are completely in the middle. Also, in regards to those who were complaining that Zinn targets the US and doesn't mention the pitfalls of the USSR and China- read the title again- A People's History of the UNITED STATES. What did you really expect? It's really quite offensive and narrow-minded to throw out words like "liberal" with such scorn and state that those who like the book are Communist/socialist/extremists. Some of us who are true scholars are just in pursuit of the truth, which cannot be achieved by putting history in a box and sticking with what you are comfortable with. Some of us are not afraid to admit that we found insight and intrigue in something that ::gasp:: goes against the conservative, blind patriotism and sugar coating of too many people the the United States. I really recommend that people read this with an open mind. By ignoring the past, we are quickly moving toward a society with very dangerous ideals. Using the Bible to justify slavery was wrong, but using it to discriminate against homosexuals is ok? By examining the past, perhaps we can do something about the future, before it's too late and we make the same mistakes again.
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