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A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present (Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Howard Zinn
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
Price: 11.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060838655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060838652
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Presents the history of the United States from the point of view of those who were exploited in the name of American progress. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Story Ever Told? 27 Mar 2010
How do you simplify such a great book in such a short space? I am not a great reader, something has to grab me and say read me and keep reading me. I am about 60 pages from finishing this and its an amazing tale. It's not just history but pure story telling. An amazing account. It tells the the story from the other side of town. The effect decisions made by richer more powerful people had on the less fortunate. I can't begin to précis this work as its its truly outstanding. It will make your mind draw parallels with your own country and change your mind about how you have been told things really happened. Incredible!

Buy and enjoy now!
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw-dropping stuff 20 May 2002
By A Customer
I found this book a fascinating and accessible read; it makes you want to read excerpts to anyone who happens to be in the same room as you. Zinn does not claim to be unbiased; in fact, he freely admits that he has written the book from the viewpoint of ordinary American people.
Zinn clearly expounds his theory on American government and its control over American society and how this control dates right back to the founding fathers. Zinn explores how many different groups have been manipulated and exploited: native American indians, negros, the working class, draftees, women, farmers, unionists, the middle class, etc., etc.
Further, he argues that the purpose of American foreign policy is, and has been, to protect and expand America’s commercial interests behind a mask of protecting democracy and freedom. Zinn explores America’s military interference in Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and others.
This is one history book which is not in the least turgid and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in history, politics or people.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Although I have read a few histories of the United States this one had the scales falling from my eyes and smashing to smithereens on almost every page.

Never have I read an historical account that exposes the self-serving, elitist and hypocritical actions of government in such a brutal and frank way. That it happens to be about the USA is almost irrelevant given that most countries are guilty of the same hypocrisies and double standards that the US has been - certainly the UK has over its long history.

A book that leaves you shocked and angry about past and present deeds and embarrassed about the status quo.

It is a 'must read' book - even for non-Americans.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb 18 Mar 2010
a brilliant read from start to finish. written with authority and care to engage the reader. superb.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did not tell me what I thought I wanted to know 25 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I consider myself well informed on world events and history, however I had a nagging embarrassment of my lack of 'knowledge' about American history. I grew-up in the Reagan years and have followed events since then, but I didn't really know what a founding father was, the events that triggered the civil and independence wars or what the Gettysburg address was. So I bought this book to inform me of the 'facts', I choose it because it had a left/liberal perspective and I knew a right-wing (winners) book would make me very angry.

Frankly it didn't help, Zinn is barely interested in isolated events and concerns himself with broad movements and long term trends. Now I feel embarrassed I cared about the founding fathers, Zinn is absolutely right to dismiss the historical facts of the leaders, history is made by the balance of class forces. The leaders themselves rarely present the truth in their public conduct the real history is beneath the surface.

Whatever your perspective this is a book worth reading, it is biased (as are all histories), Zinn states that very clearly throughout the text, but you cannot understand American history only from the 'offical' texts. It is unlikely any reader will agree with everything Zinn says (I have some issues regarding the Cold War) but no reader with a heart can deny the inner truth of Zinn's core argument; Amercian is and always has been the champion of the rich and powerful and anything in the way the of the pursuit of profit is pushed aside.

It is a tough read, at times I felt Zinn over laboured the point with anecdotal detail and dates jump backwards and forwards and can leave you a little confused; but overall my understanding of American history is greatly bought in to focus.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling it how it is, and was... 19 Feb 2010
The only time I have seen or heard Howard Zinn's 'People's History' mentioned in mainstream US media was in the film, 'Good Will Hunting', where Will (Matt Damon) looks through all the books in the office of his psychiatrist (Robin Williams) and tells him, `This is the only book worth reading here.'
The tragedy is that it is relatively unknown in the USA. Corporate control of the media (and legislature) means that the majority of US citizens seem to have very little idea of what their Government and military have been up to in the last two centuries.
'Peoples History' exposes with meticulous research and great clarity how the ruling elite of USA have single-mindedly pursued a policy of Americanisation of the whole planet. They have also used decidedly undemocratic methods to maintain their control over the political and economic institutions inside America itself. The irony is, the increasing use of invasion and occupation of sovereign countries is killing that very project, as well as hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
Up until the Vietnam War, a considerable degree of Americanisation took place by `peaceful osmosis'. This was fine, it was not being imposed by force. And so many aspects of US society are progressive - visitors to USA invariably report Americans to be particularly open and hospitable people. USA does enjoy many social freedoms not found elsewhere. The problem is, too many Americans seem to be pretty ignorant of their own history and their government's foreign policy. This is equally true of every country in the world, like the UK where I live. But, in what is still the only economic and military superpower, it is much more dangerous.
Reading Zinn's brilliant book is crucial to rectifying this situation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill'
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Published 5 days ago by TJ MCGINN
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 14 days ago by Michael McHale
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book well written
Published 21 days ago by C. Voyce
5.0 out of 5 stars is to recollect Matt Damon's answer about a good book: "It blows your...
It is very difficult to describe such a magnificent book in such a small space. It explains everything, do not deny shameful facts... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Norbert Mates
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last!
I had been searching for this particular book in hardback for a number of years. I was delighted to have finally
made the purchase from the seller through Amazon and to add... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Harry Donaghy
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent paradigm shifting
The best historical book I ever read. Overall one of the best books I ever read. Lots of background information. Read more
Published 3 months ago by aart schutte
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas gift
Another book my son could not find in bookshops, ordered late but arrived before Christmas, beautifully packaged and has been a great success with my son. Read more
Published 7 months ago by La Tua Cantante
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Must Read book.
He starts with Columbus who was an A1 killer & a Real Nasty which makes Columbus Day look a sick joke. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Terence Wallis
5.0 out of 5 stars yes!
howard zinn you absolute beaut! if you didnt exist, then my american studies essay wouldnt either. keep up the good work!
Published 9 months ago by Dewi Brady
4.0 out of 5 stars superbly iconoclastic
good to have a fresh eye cast - well a fresh look it seemed, to me!

can wqe rewrite the GOP out as from about 1982, not sure how good they are for the US.
Published 13 months ago by Ms. Susan Batstone
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