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The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy Paperback – 10 Oct 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 670 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press,U.S.; Seven Stories Press 1st Ed edition (10 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888363541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888363548
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,456,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Jun. 1999
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after hearing about some of Mr. Zinn's other books ( namely, A Peoples' History of the United States, and The Twentieth Century). I gotta say, I like it. The first essay on learning how to combat racism was quite valuable. Many of the others were as well - hell, most others. This is an excellent book, and reveals the broadness of Mr. Zinn's mind; He is in no way limited to history-telling as his only talent. If you liked "A Peoples' History of the United States", you should get this book as well.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 April 1998
Format: Paperback
If Josef Goebbels were alive today (one assumes that he is gone; check the roster of the World Anti-Communist League to be certain), he might be moved to explain, "Whenever I hear the name 'Howard Zinn,' I reach for my revolver." Professor Zinn may have outlived his usefulness in a time when a certain not-so-special prosecutor can proclaim, with a straight face, that "the First Amendment is about truth." Unless, of course, there remain a few die-hard Americans who reserve the rights to think freely, reject propaganda masquerading as history, and refute the notion of ownership of ideas. The most common side-effect brought on by reading Howard Zinn is a profound, disquieting loss of equilibrium: All these years history has been so ... unbalanced. Without a thorough and, as I'm sure the author would demand, critical reading of the Zinn oeuvre (as neatly collected in this handsome volume), you simply cannot enjoy a meaningful appreciation of American history in the 20th century. Period.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
From start to finish -- a page turner. 29 Nov. 1999
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
How many times can you call a collection of political essays a page turner? Well, how many Howard Zinn books are there?
This is a really comprehensive collection of Zinn's work, and makes a nice compliment to his quintessential "People's History of the US." It picks up on the same subject matter, but in Zinn's voice as an observer to the great political struggles of this century. It is, of course, typical, liberal, activist-minded Zinn, but I view this as a good thing -- he has a great deal of perspective as both an academic and an activist.
As for my favorite parts...I was interested and impressed to read of Zinn's activism during the Civil Rights Movement. This is a great first-hand account from someone who was along for the ride. I also enjoy his discussion of pacifism in the context of WWII, which is a difficult and delicate subject to tackle. I respect that he attempts to explain his anti-war beliefs with respect to this "good war."
I have found this book useful in very practical ways as well. I used some essays as texts in the activist internship class I taught, and I also referenced the list of important and influential books Zinn includes in an appendix.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A provocative package 1 Dec. 2000
By Douglas Doepke - Published on
Format: Paperback
Worth the money at any price, this is a rousing compilation of articles from one of America's leading historians of the left, whose earlier and epochal *A People's History of the United States* has served as something of a bible to those revisionist historians and activists more interested in unvarnished fact than patriotic myth. This revealing volume demonstrates that same class conscious perspective, this time ranging over topics both historical and contemporary, including insights into Plato, Machiavelli, the morality of war, the civil rights crusade, and the historically neglected Ludlow massacre. The result is an omnivorous selection to say the least, but one that includes plenty of ideational grist to disagree with even for those on the political left, who may find his pacifist leanings not just impracticable but insensitive to neo-colonial oppression. Be that as it may, few chroniclers of America's past so thoroughly demonstrate the bankruptcy of the official record as does Zinn, who unlike the abjectly house-broken Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has thankfully never found a place in the corridors of Repubocrat power which whatever else can be said has proven so materially rewarding for the opportunistic. There is solace however in the realization that were Zinn's historical honesty to replace the usual highschool pablum, even MTV teenagers might discover an identity that preceded them, and realize that there are no rebels without causes, but only victories as yet unwon. Zinn's work is a signpost along the way.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful anthology of our greatest historian. 13 Dec. 2002
By Pen Name? - Published on
Format: Paperback
Howard Zinn is an eloquent but plain spoken writer. His essays are a joy to read, something that cannot be said of so many historians. This is in part because, Zinn is not afraid to admit that he is an interpreter of events, he colors his writings with his own ideals, interprets the past in light of what he has lived through, illuminating events and the lives of people who may have otherwise been forgotten, so that we can learn something of ourselves in their stories. Zinn's writings on events of the twentieth century are special in that he has participated in so many important historical movements, from being a WWII bombardier, to teaching in an all black girls' college during the civil rights movement, through protesting the Vietnam War and beyond. He is not afraid to state his beliefs, but is never condescending. He is a believer in the spirit of humanity, in spite of all the atrocities he has seen and studied. This massive collection spans many years and many topics. There is not an uninteresting essay in the nearly 700 pages, though, making this quite a bargain at that. Don't pass this book up. Even if you don't consider yourself of the "leftist" persuasion, I think you will find Zinn's writings very engaging and enjoyable. I hope you do.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Wisdom in Paperback 2 Dec. 2010
By Martin Shackelford - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fine collection of the writings of the late historian Howard Zinn. In addition to historical pieces like the essay on the colorful New York figure Fiorello LaGuardia, there are also valuable pieces evaluating the purposes of historical research, and a most insightful essay on the abolitionists and the politicians, which has clear implications for activists today.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Wake up and smell the truth. 16 Oct. 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
"A People's History of the United States" forever changed the way I viewed the world and the system I grew up in. Continuing that tradition, "The Zinn Reader..", wakes up a desire in one's soul to rise up and do something about the injustices and hypocrisies that have dominated our past and continued to swallow our present. Professor Zinn write clearly, honestly, and furiously about topics ranging from the distribution of wealth to the ideal uses of scholarship and intellectualism. He lacks no emotion or fury, unlike many other historians. The main challenge Zinn makes it to exercise free thought, and "to be skeptical of someone else's reality." Very few historians, or writers for that matter, dare to look at the world from the perspective of the poor, the disenfranchised, the bombed, the murdered, the jailed, the conquered, the victim, but Zinn does exactly that, and in doing so puts out a masterful collection that not only instructs us in History, but also challenges our humanity and our place in the world.
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