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

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9780060926434: A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present

Colorful yet Scholarly, Howard Zinn's classic chronicles the American epic story from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools -- with its emphasis on "great" men in high places -- to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace. Many of our country's greatest battles -- the fight for a fair wage, an eight-hour work day, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, woman's rights, racial equality -- were carried on at the grass-roots level. Covering through President Clinton's first term, A People's History of the United States tells the stories of the men and women involved with power and passion.

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Review:

"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 of 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""Zinn has written a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those who have been exploited politically and economically and whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories. Extending its coverage...the book is an excellent antidote to establishment history. Seldom have quotations been so effectively used; the stories of blacks, women, Indians, and poor laborers of all nationalities are told in their own words. While the book is precise enough to please specialists, it should satisfy any adult reader." -- "Library Journal""One of the most important books I have ever read in a long life of reading...It's a wonderful, splendid book--a book that should be read by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future." -- Howard Fast

From the Back Cover:

This powerful survey was written as a response to a widespread demand for a serious general history of the United States from the time of Columbus to the present, written from a radical, non-establishment point of view. It was intended as a counterweight to the many conventional American histories which chronicle the country’s story through the activities of political leaders, heroes and saviours of the nation. Here instead is history ‘from the bottom up’. Powerful, fluent and argumentative, its vigorous reinterpretation of the American achievement, and its cost, has provoked debate amongst historians and laymen alike since it first appeared in 1980.

At that point its coverage ended, necessarily, with the 1970s. Now Howard Zinn has returned to his text, and in this eagerly awaited Second Edition has fully updated it with substantial coverage of the Carter, Reagan and Bush years, and with an Afterword on the Clinton presidency.

"Zinn has written a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those who have been exploited politically and economically and whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories. …the book is an excellent antidote to establishment history. Seldom have quotations been so effectively used; the stories of blacks, women, Indians, and poor laborers of all nationalities are told in their own words. While the book is precise enough to please specialists, it should satisfy any adult reader."

LIBRARY JOURNAL (US)

"…he tells an important and neglected part of the truth"

Marcus Cunliffe, THE GUARDIAN

"…he succeeds admirably in his second objective of ‘disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win’. He may not be able to tell the story of America from dozens of conflicting perspectives…but he does reveal much about the people who are usually missing from American history textbooks: the Arawaks, Cherokees, the English settlers who fled starvation and oppression in the early colonies to live with the Indians, the landless Hudson River farmers, the Negro soldiers of several wars, the Wobblies, women workers, sharecroppers, Big Bill Haywood, Mother Jones, Cubans, Filipinos and Vietnamese."

Charles Glass, NEW STATESMAN

"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."

Eric Foner, NEW YORK BOOK REVIEW

Until his retirement, Howard Zinn was Professor of Political Science at Boston University, and his book – passionate, critical, even disrespectful as it can be – remains the work of a scholar as well as a radical.

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