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A People's History of the United States (1980)

by Howard Zinn

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,678134350 (4.24)253
Presents the history of the United States from the point of view of those who were exploited in the name of American progress.
  1. 52
    Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong {original edition} by James W. Loewen (kellyholmes)
  2. 10
    America's Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation by Kenneth C. Davis (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: Equally fascinating and enlightening. It's amazing how selective traditional history books, are.
  3. 21
    The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats by Jim Goad (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  4. 11
    The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone (PlaidStallion)
    PlaidStallion: In case you just didn’t get enough. From the book:

      That Obama refuses to trumpet the notion that the United States is history’s gift to humanity has become an article of faith among Republican leaders who, knowing that 58 percent of Americans believe that “God has granted America a special role in human history,” have opportunistically used Obama’s less-than-full-throated assent to bludgeon him. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee charged that Obama's “worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we’ve had. . . . He grew up more as a globalist than an American. To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.”
    … (more)
  5. 00
    Understanding China: Learning from China's Past, Present, and Future by Stefan Piech (tih78d)
  6. 11
    Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano (brianjungwi)
  7. 00
    What Is America?: A Short History of the New World Order by Ronald Wright (thebookpile)
  8. 01
    Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism by Jim Stanford (PlaidStallion)
    PlaidStallion: From the book:

      Another dimension of recent inequality research has shown that inequality tends to become self-reinforcing over time, in the absence of countervailing efforts to reduce income gaps. The bigger are the differences between income groups, the more effort do higher-income people put into protecting their own privilege, and ensuring that their advantages are inherited by their children. These efforts (like building gated communities, or paying for private schools, or even voting against income support programs for poor people) may seem rational for well-off families. But they are unproductive (not to mention unethical) from the perspective of the whole economy. One immediate consequence of this perverse, self-reinforcing tendency is that poverty tends to become geographically concentrated (in very poor neighbourhoods) whenever inequality is worse. That makes it even worse for poor people, because now they must confront not only their own poverty – they must also grapple with the consequences of their neighbours’ poverty (experienced through crime, dysfunction, and social exclusion).

      Precisely because of these barriers to social mobility (erected to protect privilege and keep the poor at a safe social and physical distance), the more unequal is a society, the less mobility there is between classes. For example, the income ratio between the richest and poorest segments of society in the US is more than three times larger than in Denmark. Correspondingly, the correlation between a parent’s income and the income their child takes home later in life is also more than three times stronger in America than in Denmark (where a parent's income has only a minor impact on the income eventually earned by their children). Data from other countries confirms that very unequal societies experience much weaker social mobility. This evidence completely refutes the “Horatio Alger” myth propagated in US culture, which pretends that any poor person with a good idea and strong work ethic can climb to the highest rungs of society. To the contrary, poor people (and their children) tend to stay poor, while rich people wastefully expend real economic resources to ensure that they (and their children) stay rich. This confirms that once inequality gets going, it will get worse over time – unless we consciously and deliberately stop it.

    Buy the book! (but only if you can handle the humiliation of an act of capitalistic exchange.)
    … (more)
  9. 03
    An Incomplete Education, Revised Edition by Judy Jones (sbuehrle)

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» See also 253 mentions

English (129)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (134)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
This is the American history that you don't learn in school. From Christopher Columbus massacring the Arawak Indians of Hispaniola (occupied by present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) because they didn't bring him enough gold; to the subjugation of blacks, women, the poor, and the outright extermination of Indians; and to the economy meaning corporate profits, being more important than anything else; this is American history from the viewpoint of the average person. Controversial when it first came out in 1980, it is an absorbing, somewhat disturbing read. ( )
  Jimbookbuff1963 | Jun 5, 2021 |
A People's History of the United States is a 1980 nonfiction book by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn. In the book, Zinn presented what he considered to be a different side of history from the more traditional "fundamental nationalist glorification of country". Wikipedia
  MasseyLibrary | Jun 5, 2021 |
This is a depressing read full of the dark bits of our history we'd rather have forgotten. Howard Zinn takes the passing footnotes, the parenthetical asides, or the just plain ignored events in our history books and kicks you in the gut with it over and over. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
If you aren't already familiar with the reality of the history of the United States, this book will probably make you angry. Or sad. Or both. If you have read outside of the sort of American history we were taught in school, and already suspected that a lot of what we were taught was national propaganda, as I was, then this book will confirm that for you, with in depth details, historical facts, and an excellent bibliography. Anyway, I highly recommend it. It's a tough read, but an important one. ( )
  lhskarka | Apr 12, 2021 |
Took me more than 3 years, but I finally finished this book. There are sections that are fascinating and sections that were boring to me, but I plowed through them all. Considering the scope Zinn was going for, this book is magnificent. Going into it understanding the viewpoint he was going for, I thought he did a great job overall and I was about to take a long list of titles for further reading in the areas that interested me. ( )
  SGTCat | Feb 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Covering the period from 1492 practically to the present, this illuminating opus overturns many conventional notions, not just about America's treatment of blacks, but about Native Americans, women, and other disenfranchised groups whose perspectives have traditionally been left out of the education equation.

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Howard Zinnprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arnove, AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cotton, FrédéricTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stubel, ToniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Noah, Georgia, Serena, Naushon, Will-and their generation
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Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat.
While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families. The Horatio Alger stories of "rags to riches" were true for a few men, but mostly a myth, and a useful myth for control. — chapter 11
One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth. The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another: small property owners against the propertyless, black against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and the unskilled. These groups have resented one another and warred against one another with such vehemence and violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of leftovers in a very wealthy country. — chapter 24
Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes. — chapter 24
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Presents the history of the United States from the point of view of those who were exploited in the name of American progress.

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Book description
Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People's History of the United States has been chronicling American history 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.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History 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. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles–for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality–were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through the 2000 Election and the "war on terrorism," ,A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981 and has sold more than one million copies, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.

This new edition contains two new chapters covering the Clinton presidency, the 2000 Election, and the "war on terrorism," continuing Zinn's important contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history.

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Seven Stories Press

2 editions of this book were published by Seven Stories Press.

Editions: 1609803515, 1609802810

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