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A People's History of the United States

por Howard Zinn

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: A People's History

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14,726157380 (4.23)263
History. Politics. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

THE CLASSIC NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"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

Historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative 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, it 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, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles??the fights 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 President Clinton's first term, A People's History of the United States features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history. This edition also includes an introduction by Anthony Arnove, who wrote, directed, and produced The People Speak with Zinn and who coauthored, with Zinn, Voices of a People's History of… (mais)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 156 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
A Rorschach test, indeed. What do you think about Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States? What do you assume about anyone who would read it?

Many have attempted to ban it. Many think of it as “anti-American.”

Zinn is as “anti-American” as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes is depressing and anti-life. Sure, if you’ve bought into certain narratives, and cannot countenance bursting those particular bubbles, that’s a conclusion to draw.

And, indeed, the standard story of what you were taught in school is highly criticized in this book. The author starts with an unflinching look at exactly what Columbus and his ilk did to the Indigenous people of America. Throughout is a story of well-heeled class interests preserving themselves at the expense of everyone else, and only as much ground given as necessary to keep the whole system from turning on itself. There’s nothing innocent about the United States portrayed in these pages. Its constant failure is on display for all to see.

Everyone who talks about Zinn will say he has his agenda. And he does; he’s very open about it. For that matter, every history has an agenda, because it is an attempt at creating a narrative on the basis of a series of facts, and what one decides to emphasize and what one correspondingly neglects betrays some kind of bias or angle.

If anything, the problem with this work is with Zinn’s naivete and blind spots: he is a Builder who really wants to lionize and consider special the culture of resistance in the 1960s, and he is willing to throw any other attempt at reform under the bus in so doing.

While Zinn confesses the failure of modern communist endeavors because of their priority on party over people, he maintains a Marxist conceit about “A People’s History,” as if the history of agitation and organization against moneyed interests and corporations is “the People’s History”. It would be better titled “The Resister’s History of the United States,” because that’s the tenor of the book.

There’s a lot of things in the history with which to grapple. You learn quite quickly how police today are far nicer to citizens and others than they were in the past. This does not mean police today are nice; it means what was done by police in action against citizens and others in the 19th and early 20th centuries were abominable. Zinn is probably not wrong in how he characterizes the Constitution as enshrining sufficient federal power to advance the interests of the wealthy and the merchants. He’s also probably not entirely wrong that whatever the government has given to assist labor or the less than advantaged is done with a view to maintaining societal stability: just enough is given so that the people don’t rise up in sufficient revolt to overthrow the system.

You’d thus think he would be hard on corporations and those who advanced their interests, and you would not be wrong. He is not a fan of Nixon or Reagan. But it would seem most of his invective comes against those in the Democratic party. He conflates Carter with Reagan and Bush as perpetuating a militaristic, pro-corporate administration. He has no love for Bill Clinton. These are all betrayers of the leftist cause.

Thus, this history is probably more offensive to moderate to centrist leftists than anyone on the right. For Zinn it has always been not enough and never for the right reasons. The diminishment of the efforts of Progressivism in the beginning of the 20th century is notable. Likewise his attempts at casting FDR and the New Deal down from the way it was exalted by many on the left.

This attempt at re-framing what was done in the 1900s and 1930s-40s would be more tolerable if similar skepticism was maintained about what happened from the 1960s onward. Yes, the forms of resistance he talked about are real enough, but none of them were as significant as he would like to imagine. He has a naive confidence in polling about what Americans say they want, trusting their general desires even though the moment said general desires get translated into substantive policy they lose support. People are more invested in the status quo than Zinn would care to imagine.

And the fruit of everything 1960s was not nearly as transformative as Zinn would postulate. The work as written clearly had an arc which was to end with 1992 and the 500th anniversary of Columbus, and discussions of Clinton and the early War on Terror were added later. Zinn died in 2010 and so there would be no real grappling with the 2008 economic crisis and its fallout, with the Obama phenomenon and then Trumpism. Zinn never delves into the “dark side” of populism, the Huey Longs or those like Trump who will emphasize populist themes even though all he does is to the advantage of those with wealth like himself. From the perspective of 2024 it’s hard to maintain the naive confidence that all the resisting Zinn talked about in the second half of the twentieth century really lead to as much transformation as he would have liked to see. And that which was accomplished he takes for granted or again sublimates under the premise that it was only granted to keep things from getting out of hand.

And thus, in the end, this history of the United States really does not give enough credit to many of the changes which have been made, nor to the aspirations of the nation, even recognizing how the reality has always fallen far short of those aspirations. Much of what is in this history are facts, things which actually happened, and they do need to be grappled with in terms of our legacy. The United States is not the force of good we would like to imagine it to be, but should that mean we should just give into the cynicism and not appeal to the better angels of our nature?

The ways Zinn worked to try to change things, apparently, did not work well enough for him or us. What he would like to imagine seems more remote than it was when he was writing. His methods thus did not get us to that imagined better place. Maybe there was more to the reform movements than he would like to give credit; maybe the post-war generation didn’t have all the answers the way they imagined they did. And as the Boomer generation has demonstrated, the only thing worse than idealism is frustrated idealism gone reactionary. ( )
  deusvitae | Jan 21, 2024 |
Important, heart-throbing and...boring. This enormous litany of injustices, suffering and exploitation deafens and blunts your senses. First you aroused, outraged, in disbilief, and then you can't percieve it anymore. One death is a tragedy, but a thousand is just statistics...Should be read in teaspoon doses.
  Den85 | Jan 3, 2024 |
In this conversational, meandering (but not in bad way) lecture, Zinn often speaks about what he didn't know, what he didn't learn, why certain points of view were eliminated from the history books and the value of seeing events from the the point of view of the loser. Topics include: westward expansion, Mother Jones, war, and shifts in views on big government. ( )
  jennifergeran | Dec 23, 2023 |
Excellent important topics. The writing style was hard for me to read, and the lack of reference notes (although I understand the author's reasoning) was also hard for me to read. ( )
  Colleen.Greene | Dec 17, 2023 |
Great book that focuses on how everyday people shaped our nation. It's a great addition to most history books that focus on major historical players. Both types of history books are important in order to have a more realistic view of our history. ( )
  Jim-H. | Dec 13, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 156 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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.
 

» Adicionar outros autores (3 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Howard Zinnautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Arnove, AnthonyIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Cotton, FrédéricTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stubel, ToniTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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History. Politics. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

THE CLASSIC NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"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

Historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative 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, it 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, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles??the fights 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 President Clinton's first term, A People's History of the United States features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history. This edition also includes an introduction by Anthony Arnove, who wrote, directed, and produced The People Speak with Zinn and who coauthored, with Zinn, Voices of a People's History of

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