Library Journal calls A People’s History of the United States, “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those…whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories.” In this groundbreaking work, the author explains how America’s past, from the Revolutionary War to the present day, has typically been characterized by the exploitation of large segments of American society.
Howard Zinn presents a realistic view of the American past which focuses on the human cost which often accompanied the capitalist expansion of the United states. The book is an important supplement to the view of American exceptionalism found in many textbooks, revealing uncomfortable events we have swept beneath the rug of American progress. According to Zinn:
My history… describes the inspiring struggle of those who have fought slavery and racism, of the labor organizers who have led strikes for the rights of working people, of the socialists and others who have protested war and militarism. My hero is not Theodore Roosevelt, who loved war and congratulated a general after a massacre of Filipino villagers at the turn of the century, but Mark Twain, who denounced the massacre and satirized imperialism.
I want young people to understand that ours is a beautiful country, but it has been taken over by men who have no respect for human rights or constitutional liberties. Our people are basically decent and caring, and our highest ideals are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which says that all of us have an equal right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The history of our country, I point out in my book, is a striving, against corporate robber barons and war makers, to make those ideals a reality — and all of us, of whatever age, can find immense satisfaction in becoming part of that.
Packed with vivid details and memorable quotations, Zinn’s award-winning classic continues to have a profound impact upon educators, scholars, and students of American History.
“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, author of Spartacus and The Immigrants
“[It] should be required reading.” — Columbia University Historian Eric Foner, New York Times Book Review
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