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A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present (Modern Classics) Paperback – 1 Aug 2005

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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: 13.5 x 3.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James Symington on 7 May 2009
Format: Paperback
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Christopher Limb on 27 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
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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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 May 2002
Format: Paperback
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. W. Bishop on 18 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
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 By fariborz on 5 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Even the very first paragraph show that the book is unique and a very fair approach to the history of the US.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Athan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 July 2015
Format: Paperback
If you’re looking for the source of the expression “the one percent” it’s right here. In the final, 2003, edition I’m holding in my hands (the original was published in 1980), the call to arms comes on page 632:

“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. I am taking the liberty of uniting those 99 percent as "the people"”

The author’s stated aim here is to write an alternative history of the US, filling in the bits the official history books leave out: the struggles of the 99%, those he calls “the people.”

I’ve owned the “People’s History” for some time. I finally picked it up when it became clear Hillary would be running for President. There’s a chapter here on the Clinton years that I thought I had to read. But I needed the context (for example, what did Zinn think of the Carter years?) so I forced myself to plod through the whole thing before getting to the events of 1992-2000. I read it, dunno, in one week.

A history of the people, anyway one cares to define a people, it most certainly ain’t.

There is a history hiding in this book, but it is the history of American Socialism and civil disobedience followed by a diatribe against American Imperialism (not once named by its name in the entire book!!!), tightly fused with a compendium (but NOT a history) of the most salient dates and figures plucked from the histories of (i) the autochthonous American Indians (ii) the negro slaves and the civil rights movement (iii) the women’s movement and (iv) the labor movement, provided they tie in to the history of socialism in America. The history of the oppressed is very much a supporting act.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By DP Smyth on 19 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
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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