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A People's History of the United States:…

A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present (original 1980; edition 2001)

by Howard Zinn (Author)

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12,750138350 (4.23)255
Presents the history of the United States from the point of view of those who were exploited in the name of American progress.
Title:A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present
Authors:Howard Zinn (Author)
Info:HarpPerenM (2001), Edition: Rev&Updtd, 720 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

  1. 62
    Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong {original edition} by James W. Loewen (kellyholmes)
  2. 31
    The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats by Jim Goad (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  3. 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.
  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
    What Is America?: A Short History of the New World Order by Ronald Wright (thebookpile)
  6. 11
    Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano (brianjungwi)
  7. 02
    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)
  8. 03
    An Incomplete Education, Revised Edition by Judy Jones (sbuehrle)

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» See also 255 mentions

English (133)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
I learned a lot of history, but he was so biased that he could rarely acknowledge the good that was done or the difficulty of change. For example, he criticized the fact that the New Deal compromised excluded farm laborers and nannies because of the fact that blacks held a majority of these positions. I also do not like that these workers were excluded, but if a compromise was not made, then very little of the New Deal laws would have passed and no one would have been helped.

Compromise is never desired, but it is sometimes the only way to get anything done. ( )
  mst3k4L | Jul 22, 2021 |
A must-read for those who see America as mother and apple pie. But despite throwing light on the downside of our system of government, Zinn is thinn on offering solutions. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
nonfiction; American history (by social activist author)
This does provide more info on the sides of history that are not typically found in your highschool textbook, though as the author notes, every history text is inherently biased in what it does and does not include, and there is a definite slant here. Emphasis is on the elite/capitalist oppression of the lower classes, and the ways that resistance and protest has helped to improve things slightly.

See also:
on people conquering other peoples:
[b:Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies|1842|Guns, Germs, and Steel The Fates of Human Societies|Jared Diamond|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1453215833l/1842._SY75_.jpg|2138852]

on Native American history in the US: [b:An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People|42816856|An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People|Debbie Reese|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1552176113l/42816856._SX50_.jpg|66483784] or the full-length version: [b:An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States|20588662|An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3)|Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1395003842l/20588662._SX50_.jpg|39861426] (really only 25 pages longer)

on corporate/political corruption profiting from the suffering of others:
[b:Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America|37486540|Dopesick Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America|Beth Macy|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1533010748l/37486540._SY75_.jpg|59097428]
[b:Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation|15798109|Toms River A Story of Science and Salvation|Dan Fagin|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1360096482l/15798109._SY75_.jpg|21521027]
[b:Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris|335451|Ashes to Ashes America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris|Richard Kluger|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1388206012l/335451._SY75_.jpg|325923]
(more) on the injustices of poverty:
[b:Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City|25852784|Evicted Poverty and Profit in the American City|Matthew Desmond|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1453060710l/25852784._SX50_.jpg|45720714]
[b:Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America|1869|Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting by in America|Barbara Ehrenreich|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1442378091l/1869._SY75_.jpg|1840613]

on a *small sliver* of the history of injustice against black people in the US:
[b:The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness|6792458|The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness|Michelle Alexander|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1328751532l/6792458._SX50_.jpg|6996712]
[b:Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America|13425592|Devil in the Grove Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America|Gilbert King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1366558408l/13425592._SY75_.jpg|18907573]
[b:The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation|108422|The Race Beat The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation|Gene Roberts|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1320445224l/108422._SX50_.jpg|104482] (haven't read this one yet but it's been on my list--Pulitzer winners tend to be very thoroughly researched and I usually learn a lot)

on why some people HATE this book:
look up "white fragility" (you don't need to read the whole book about it) but also read the first couple chapters of [b:How to Be an Antiracist|40265832|How to Be an Antiracist|Ibram X. Kendi|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1560163756l/40265832._SY75_.jpg|62549152] to learn how to reframe that conversation so we can all start acting better rather than get stuck pointing fingers.
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Argh, another DNF. I started this in my 20s--while I was visiting family on spring break *right* as the US was invading Iraq in 2003--and should have finished it then, too. So much has happened since. Zinn's work is important, to be sure, but we are also lucky to live in an age where #ownvoices is gaining more and more ground, and I am a little more interested in getting history lessons from marginalized folx. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 133 (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
First words
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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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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