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A People's History of the United States Hardcover – 23 Jun 1980

4.6 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 628 pages
  • Publisher: Longman (23 Jun. 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582489474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582489479
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,879,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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By Mac McAleer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From a European perspective this is an insightful history of the United States. It starts from the first appearance of Europeans and has an emphasis on the people, how the people made history and how this history made them. In this book "people" should really be "peoples" as it includes not just the European immigrants but also the original inhabitants, the indentured and the enslaved.

From the perspective of a certain part of America, this is a commie-pinko, bleeding heart liberal, un-American piece of garbage; the perspective of another part of America made it a bestseller.

If you do not have a history of the US, I would recommend this book. However, you may find a short conventional history of the United States useful as a companion volume to anchor this book in a familiar time-line. If you already have a history of the US, you should buy this book and compare the two.

TAKING SIDES: In the first chapter the author sets out his approach to the history of the United States: ". . . in that inevitable taking of sides which comes from selection and emphasis in history, I prefer to try to tell the story of the discovery of America from the viewpoint of the Arawaks, of the Constitution from the standpoint of the slaves, of Andrew Jackson as seen by the Cherokees, of the Civil War as seen by the New York Irish, of the
...Read more ›
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