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From the opening line—"Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last"—you will know that you are in the hands of a master storyteller and in the company of a fascinating woman hero. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby-Dick, Sena Jeter Naslund has created an enthralling and compellingly readable saga, spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life. At once a family drama, a romantic adventure, and a portrait of a real and loving marriage, Ahab's Wife gives new perspective on the American experience.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Topics: Kentucky, American South, Obsession, Disguises, Whaling, Shipwreck, Indigenous Peoples, Mothers, Mental Illness, Love Story, Pregnancy, Slavery, War, Marriage, Feminism, Love, Grief, Maritime, Writing, Journeys, LGBTQ, Female Protagonist, Sailing, Women Pushing Boundaries, Survival, American Civil War, Family, Spirituality , Death, American History, Suicide, Friendship, Revenge, Cape Cod, New England, Massachusetts, United States of America, Boston, Early America, Civil War Period, Lyrical, Poetic, Adventurous, Epic, Panoramic, Transcendentalism, First Person Narration, Episodic, Metafiction, American Author, Female Author, and 20th Century

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061983696
List price: $10.99
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I admire Zinn for having the courage, as an historian, to allow his work to reflect the changes he experienced in moral perspective after serving in World War II. He has given interviews in which he discusses the difference between killing from a remote distance and then seeing the brutality and suffering that is war. His work, and A People's History is a great example, tries to help us understand a similar problem in perspective: the difference between history writ large, the hagiographies of "great men," and the history of important voices and movements that have been omitted and for the most part dismissed.more
This book is an interesting take on what we have all grown up to believe as accurate American history. Zinn brings the story of the downtrodden and oppressed to the forefront by explaining famous American history events through the eyes of those on the losing side. A must read for any history buff if for nothing else, to gain a new perspective of America’s foundation.more
Zinn has an axe to grind: that from Columbus' "discovery" of the New World through contemporary times, native peoples, women, poor whites, African-Americans, immigrants, have all suffered at the hands of rich and powerful white men. The book provides a service by examining commonly held beliefs and holding them to factual examinations. In just one example, Abraham Lincoln is seen as being personally anti-slavery, but politically neutral. Freeing Southern slaves was not his primary goal; keeping the Union together was, and Zinn intimates that if the Confederacy would have been open to compromise than Lincoln would not have issued the Emancipation Proclamation. However, in addition to unique perspectives, the reader is subject to a great deal of overkill, and a feeling of redundancy. The author makes his point--and then continues to drive his perspective in overwhelming documentation. It's a reductionist view of American history, and even if you essentially agree with the author's thesis, by the end of the book a reader feels fatigue rather than exhileration. Also, there's no perspective; are all nations as monomaniacal as Zinn paints the U.S.? If this country is as bad as Zinn asserts, why is there still a clamor by people the world over to gain entry? Very valuable but not enjoyable: from the genocide of the "great explorers" through the imperialism of the late 19th century, through military interventions in the 20th century, and on to the cowardice and economic self-interest of politicians--from the Founding Fathers to todays hacks--it's not a pretty picture.more
The classic history of America from the vantage point of the people you don't hear about in the textbooks. Zinn writes a narrative that is complete and very readable. At times shocking and appalling this book gives a new perspective on American history.more
Zinn looks at American History through the struggles of the underdog, the poor, Native American and the undesirables. While I do not necessarily agree with all Zinn's assertions I do believe that this is a must read. History usually looks at the winners and sugar coats the issues that do not fit the desired narrative. Zinn challenges the usual US history lesson and looks at little known rebellions that speak about the struggle of this nation.more
History is about power, said Eugen Weber. This one is about the powerless majority, the humble members of society. The farmers, mechanics, laborers. The Native Americans dispossessed of their land. The slaves dispossessed of their liberty. The women and children, the rent payers, the downtrodden. This is the flip side of the elitist history you learned in school. It is not about kings or presidents, founding fathers or saviors or statesmen. It is "disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." Always on the side of the people, it does not claim to be a "balanced" account of history. It IS the balance. It provides what is missing from other histories. A must read if you want a balanced understanding of American history. This book is class conscious, not nation conscious. It discusses America's major wars, but only to challenge their legitimacy and to decry how they supplanted class issues with nation issues. This book is populist. It celebrates examples from American history of powerless groups that organized to protect themselves from the powerful. This book believes in the virtue of disobedience. It calls for and hopes for non-violent revolution in an America that is "a system in deep trouble." "Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes." Alienation is spreading upward. A brilliant interpretation of American class struggle from the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the 1980s.more
This book should be required reading for every student, as it gives a detailed view of history from a different perspective. You don't have to agree with everything in it, and in fact, even if you don't agree with the author's politics at all, it is a valuable addition to the body of historical works.more
Most interesting, attention grabbing historical work that I've ever read. Spot on in parts, biased in parts but a very interesting read as a counter balance to the victors who write history. This one will definitely make you think.more
A People’s History of the United States is a revisionist history text that attempts to document U.S. history as it appeared from the eyes of “the people” – the poor, the black, the American Indian, and the female; in other words, all the people who until recently had no say in how the United States was governed. It attacks the elementary-level view of American history as one full of heroes fighting for liberty, and instead paints a particularly bleak picture of oppression and control. This is a book that reminds us that Christopher Columbus personally engaged in genocide, that Lincoln did not particularly care about freeing slaves, and that the Founding Fathers created a government of, for and by rich white slaveowners.The ultimate impression the book leaves one with is that the United States is controlled by a slim percentage of extremely rich people, that domestic and foreign policy is entirely revolved around protecting “the national interest” (i.e. corporate interest), that the government, judiciary and media all work diligently to maintain this status quo, and that this state of affairs dates all the way back to the Revolution. Most people already know this, but to see it so thoroughly and articulately documented and summarised is quite shocking.The book is, obviously, quite biased. Zinn openly admits this, and declares that he is “not troubled by that, because the mountain of history books under which we all stand leans so heavily in the opposite direction – so tremblingly respectful of states and statesmen and so disrespectful, by inattention, to people’s movements – that we need some counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission.”I’m not sure to what level I agree with that; I certainly thought he was stretching it at some points in the book, such as his portrayal of Native American society as a perfect harmonious utopia, or his steadfast opposition to all wars, even World War II and Korea. I do not subscribe to the belief that when arguing a point you should misrepresent, or entirely omit, the viewpoint of your opponent. If you are in the right, their arguments will ultimately be defeated; if not, perhaps you should rethink your opinion.When describing the SS Mayaguez incident, for example, Zinn makes passing reference to “a revolutionary regime” that had recently seized power in Cambodia. That regime was, of course, the Khmer Rouge, one of the 20th century’s most incomprehensibly evil governments. Perhaps the Mayaguez incident really was all about propaganda – and Zinn makes a compelling case for that – so why avoid mentioning the Khmer Rouge? Because Zinn knows the connections a well-educated reader will draw? Because it brings up the fact that regadless of motive, rescuing the captured crew was the correct course of action? Zinn details how the crew were well-treated by their captors, as though that made it okay, despite previously discussing how the relatively happy lives of many American slaves did not make their slavery one jot less cruel.This is just one example of many small incidents throughout the book where I found myself disapproving of Zinn’s technique. I hesitate to draw comparison to Michael Moore, because Moore is much less elegant and refined and serious than Zinn, but he’s the only comparable figure I can think of: somebody presenting a one-sided argument that might even be called propaganda, and which should not be tolerated simply because it’s propaganda for what is good and right and just.Of couse Zinn, as mentioned above, openly acknowledges his bias and the motive behind it, and I would greatly prefer for people to read something that admits its bias rather than falsely claiming objectivity. The other important factor is, of course, that I am not the intended target for this book. A People’s History of the United States was written by an American, for Americans, in an effort to undermine the false assumptions and accepted wisdom prevalent in American culture, and particularly in American schools. As an Australian, I come from a culture where the United States is generally regarded quite poorly. Yet I could still draw parallels; although Australia is a far more egalitarian society, with a political system less corrupted by lobbyists and business interests, we too have classes, and politicans here also exploit our fears of foreigners as a convenient boogeyman. Here, too, the lower and middle classes are often bizarrely opposed to trade unions. Huge swathes of A People’s History of the United States, particularly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, revolve around the labor movement: the strikes, the protests, the sit-ins and the struggles. Although I also found these sections to be the most tedious, it was quite eye-opening to see a vision of the United States during a time when the poor were not held in Stockholm Syndrome with the rich.Clearly I’m not the best person to judge the value of this book. I certainly don’t think it’s a book you should read uncritically, nor without reading other books on American history. But it certainly has a valuable place in American political and historical discourse, and the purpose Zinn wrote it for is a noble one. Apparently he copped a lot of flak because the outlook of the book was so depressing, but I actually found his personal opinion to be quite positive, particularly in chapters towards the end where he describes his vision of the future, where the military-industrial complex has been overthrown and the American government concerns itself with all of its people, not just the wealthiest. This is not a belief I share; I look at Americans protesting Obama, a man no different from any of his predecessors except in the colour of his skin, chanting about how he is a socialist and a Marxist and a communist. I look at them and I wonder how they can possibly be so oblivious, how they can possibly not realise that all their beliefs and values have been shaped by think-tanks and politicians with the delibarate intent of keeping theem in check; no different, except in volume, from working class Australians who vote for the Liberal Party because they’re frightened of boat people. I could wish that every American would read A People’s History of the United States, but a good chunk of them would throw it aside as “communist rubbish,” and another good chunk would lap up every thing Zinn says without thinking laterally, and would then go spraypaint a local council chamber while listening to Muse. I think what I’m saying is that most people are idiots and deserve what they get from the government.Um, I mean, it was a bit boring sometimes but a really thought-provoking book. Recommended.more
This book was very eye-opening. I love learning about other perspectives of history. I loved that Zinn included lots on women's history.The wording is a little tough to get through, but once I really got into the book, I just flew through it.more
Phenomenal. Astounding. Horrifying and moving. That's about as far as I can get to articulate how amazing this book is. EVERY American should read it.more
A must-read history of the United States for anyone who wants to truly understand the development of this country. Zinn's writing is engaging, and he tells an eye-opening version of the facts behind the childhood stories we were told in school. The European explorers and settlers of America are usually presented as heroes, but Zinn reveals the cruelty and brutality of their efforts to exterminate the indigenous population. And the rest of this history is equally enlightening. Highly recommended.more
Hands down, must read, if you're not bothered by poking and prodding your national consciousness.more
Excellent overall history of the united states told through the viewpoint of the average citizen. Zinn debunks lots of myths of our national heros and gives a full accounting of what they actually did vice what who are brainwashed into believing they did. A must read for any one interested in an honest accounting of how this country started and what it is actually based on. This book will change your life.more
In light of Mr. Zinn's passing, everyone should read this book. Mr. Zinn spent his life researching the dark side of American history, bringing it into the mainstream and informing others of his knowledge.more
This is the "alternate" side of history you may have been taught in high school. Howard Zinn does exactly what he says in presenting a history "disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements", and should be read in that context. Given the honest bias, this should be read after or in parallel with a more complete view of history as he does not give the larger context of US and world events, and I he presupposes a knowledge in the reader of these "larger" issues. A well written and dense work. I would suggest the potential reader start with Chapter 23 where Zinn is more direct in his purpose where he summarizes "the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going".No matter what your political leaning, there is something for you in this book - outrage at the atrocities of the "elites", or outrage at Zinn's sometime simplistic hinting that America is run by a group of "elites" conspiring to keep everyone else down.more
Many thought-provoking passages, especially where the history presented intersected with the history I learned more thoroughly in school (I'm still a little vague on the general goings-on in the US between 1900 and 1919). Over-all the information and presentation are well put together, with the bias of the work unapologetic but acknowledged, which is more than I can say for a lot of the histories that Zinn wrote this work in argument to.more
Forgot about this book until the death of Howard Zinn. Dr. Zinn did us all a favor with the "other side" of American History. It should be mandatory reading to graduate from High School and again from College! All History is written by the winners -- Zinn tells the story of the losers in America History.more
NOT the standard version of American history you learned it school. Instead, Zinn does just what he says, and presents U.S. history from the viewpoint of ordinary, non-famous, people -- mostly of them poor. On top of this, Zinn imposes his own (very strong) viewpoint: from the left, the w-a-a-y left. At times, this can drive a more middle of the road reader into talking back (no, Howard, modern capitalism is not entirely a plot). It is, however, an invigorating antidote to the standard view of American history.more
The one history book you should read.more
As a reference or an additional information source, this isn't terrible (4 stars). It really does hit a lot of high points & some that other histories have left out. The writing is good. While dry, it is readable & conveys a lot of information. My copy is an old one that only goes through the Vietnam war. He has updated versions to 2003, I believe.It is NOT a balanced view of our history & is proposed reading for schools (minus 1 star). It shouldn't be unless read with other materials as it only tells part of the story. If you want to know anything about how minority groups were mistreated, you'll find it here. While accurate, the view is so unbalanced as to become nauseating after a while (minus another star). While most historians have an axe to grind, most do it more subtly than Zinn does. To the best of my knowledge, he doesn't gossip nor present any incorrect facts, he does present his facts in such a way as to slam our government at every turn. He does bring up some points that many other histories have glossed over, though (add one star). For instance, in the early history of the United States, he is very careful to point out every group not represented by the Constitution, yet makes no mention of the fact that these people were not represented before the Revolution either. It's good that he brings up the point, but not so great that he leaves the impression that they obviously should have been. It wasn't obvious to the people of that time that they should have been represented. Men of property made the decisions & always had. Women, slaves & men without property didn't get a say. That they eventually did says a lot for the foundation these men laid, which Zinn carefully avoids.So overall it is a good thing to read, but only with another history to balance it at hand.more
This book should be required reading for anyone in high school. And again in college. And again in graduate school. And again at any entry level job. You get the point.This book highlights the untold story behind history. As they say, history is written by the winners. This is the story of the losers. Read it. Soak it in. And realize that there are many more losers in history than winners. Then decide which group you're a part of....you'll never be the same again after reading this book.more
Point blank, this book is amazing.The only reason I gave it a four instead of a five is that it's so dense and at times I found myself getting slightly bored.Other than that, however, I adore this book and consider it a must-read for all Americans.more
Perhaps every generation feels like its lived through particularly "interesting" times. Howard Zinn's 'People's History of the United States' confirms them all to be correct. Quite a tome, this dense book traces American history - from the arrival of Columbus to modern day - from the perspective of the average American. Read: not rich, not powerful, not white, not male, maybe not even a citizen; a version of history from the perspective of "we the people".Despite that it sat on my shelf unread for at least a year, its actually quite readable. In fact Zinn's version of American history is engaging partly because it is so different from what you learned in grade school. What is history but a compendium of facts? Well Zinn's 'People's History' demonstrates that "his"tory is indeed quite different than "our"story. An examination of the facts from the people's perspective reveals the hypocrisy of America - the story of Democracy verses the reality. Gone are the great highs we celebrated - the Boston Tea Party, the Louisiana Purchase, WWII - in 'People's History" they're all sullied. Looked at through Zinn's lens its difficult to not feel a little cynical about the governing class and a lot skeptical about their rationale for action.That said, I have renewed appreciation for what "the people" can accomplish with a little passion and creativity. Rather than progress being the result of great acts by "great men", Zinn leads us to believe that most good things have come about due to an unruly public clamoring for their rights. Evidence that indeed "Well-behaved women rarely make history".I don't regret being rooted in the idealistic image of America, but Americans should be equally versed in this side as well. For the answer to the question of 'why do they hate us?' you need look no further.more
Often dismissed as leftist revision, Zinn's work is the history that you were not indoctrinated with. It shows America - warts and all. You'll find all those things that were swept under the rug, which is too bad because those are the very things that made America great. The courage of miners to take on the companies for better wages and work conditions. This created better wages and work conditions for us today. The courage of abolisionists to break bad laws in aid of an oppressed people. In the end, it freed us all. In reading this book you get the sense of who really are the heros of America. Most of the time it was someone we never heard of while growing up. It reaffirms that America is more than politicians and rich men, but an entire continent of people molding a better life. It reaffirms that it is the middle class that runs the place in the end. My recommendation for focus is the early 20th century and how the public took on the powers that be.more
Lovers of history should read this book! Zinn presents an unbiased account of history, often supported by quotations of people who were there. This book contains everything they didn't want to teach you in school! Appropriate for high school and beyond...more
Read all 49 reviews

Reviews

I admire Zinn for having the courage, as an historian, to allow his work to reflect the changes he experienced in moral perspective after serving in World War II. He has given interviews in which he discusses the difference between killing from a remote distance and then seeing the brutality and suffering that is war. His work, and A People's History is a great example, tries to help us understand a similar problem in perspective: the difference between history writ large, the hagiographies of "great men," and the history of important voices and movements that have been omitted and for the most part dismissed.more
This book is an interesting take on what we have all grown up to believe as accurate American history. Zinn brings the story of the downtrodden and oppressed to the forefront by explaining famous American history events through the eyes of those on the losing side. A must read for any history buff if for nothing else, to gain a new perspective of America’s foundation.more
Zinn has an axe to grind: that from Columbus' "discovery" of the New World through contemporary times, native peoples, women, poor whites, African-Americans, immigrants, have all suffered at the hands of rich and powerful white men. The book provides a service by examining commonly held beliefs and holding them to factual examinations. In just one example, Abraham Lincoln is seen as being personally anti-slavery, but politically neutral. Freeing Southern slaves was not his primary goal; keeping the Union together was, and Zinn intimates that if the Confederacy would have been open to compromise than Lincoln would not have issued the Emancipation Proclamation. However, in addition to unique perspectives, the reader is subject to a great deal of overkill, and a feeling of redundancy. The author makes his point--and then continues to drive his perspective in overwhelming documentation. It's a reductionist view of American history, and even if you essentially agree with the author's thesis, by the end of the book a reader feels fatigue rather than exhileration. Also, there's no perspective; are all nations as monomaniacal as Zinn paints the U.S.? If this country is as bad as Zinn asserts, why is there still a clamor by people the world over to gain entry? Very valuable but not enjoyable: from the genocide of the "great explorers" through the imperialism of the late 19th century, through military interventions in the 20th century, and on to the cowardice and economic self-interest of politicians--from the Founding Fathers to todays hacks--it's not a pretty picture.more
The classic history of America from the vantage point of the people you don't hear about in the textbooks. Zinn writes a narrative that is complete and very readable. At times shocking and appalling this book gives a new perspective on American history.more
Zinn looks at American History through the struggles of the underdog, the poor, Native American and the undesirables. While I do not necessarily agree with all Zinn's assertions I do believe that this is a must read. History usually looks at the winners and sugar coats the issues that do not fit the desired narrative. Zinn challenges the usual US history lesson and looks at little known rebellions that speak about the struggle of this nation.more
History is about power, said Eugen Weber. This one is about the powerless majority, the humble members of society. The farmers, mechanics, laborers. The Native Americans dispossessed of their land. The slaves dispossessed of their liberty. The women and children, the rent payers, the downtrodden. This is the flip side of the elitist history you learned in school. It is not about kings or presidents, founding fathers or saviors or statesmen. It is "disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." Always on the side of the people, it does not claim to be a "balanced" account of history. It IS the balance. It provides what is missing from other histories. A must read if you want a balanced understanding of American history. This book is class conscious, not nation conscious. It discusses America's major wars, but only to challenge their legitimacy and to decry how they supplanted class issues with nation issues. This book is populist. It celebrates examples from American history of powerless groups that organized to protect themselves from the powerful. This book believes in the virtue of disobedience. It calls for and hopes for non-violent revolution in an America that is "a system in deep trouble." "Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes." Alienation is spreading upward. A brilliant interpretation of American class struggle from the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the 1980s.more
This book should be required reading for every student, as it gives a detailed view of history from a different perspective. You don't have to agree with everything in it, and in fact, even if you don't agree with the author's politics at all, it is a valuable addition to the body of historical works.more
Most interesting, attention grabbing historical work that I've ever read. Spot on in parts, biased in parts but a very interesting read as a counter balance to the victors who write history. This one will definitely make you think.more
A People’s History of the United States is a revisionist history text that attempts to document U.S. history as it appeared from the eyes of “the people” – the poor, the black, the American Indian, and the female; in other words, all the people who until recently had no say in how the United States was governed. It attacks the elementary-level view of American history as one full of heroes fighting for liberty, and instead paints a particularly bleak picture of oppression and control. This is a book that reminds us that Christopher Columbus personally engaged in genocide, that Lincoln did not particularly care about freeing slaves, and that the Founding Fathers created a government of, for and by rich white slaveowners.The ultimate impression the book leaves one with is that the United States is controlled by a slim percentage of extremely rich people, that domestic and foreign policy is entirely revolved around protecting “the national interest” (i.e. corporate interest), that the government, judiciary and media all work diligently to maintain this status quo, and that this state of affairs dates all the way back to the Revolution. Most people already know this, but to see it so thoroughly and articulately documented and summarised is quite shocking.The book is, obviously, quite biased. Zinn openly admits this, and declares that he is “not troubled by that, because the mountain of history books under which we all stand leans so heavily in the opposite direction – so tremblingly respectful of states and statesmen and so disrespectful, by inattention, to people’s movements – that we need some counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission.”I’m not sure to what level I agree with that; I certainly thought he was stretching it at some points in the book, such as his portrayal of Native American society as a perfect harmonious utopia, or his steadfast opposition to all wars, even World War II and Korea. I do not subscribe to the belief that when arguing a point you should misrepresent, or entirely omit, the viewpoint of your opponent. If you are in the right, their arguments will ultimately be defeated; if not, perhaps you should rethink your opinion.When describing the SS Mayaguez incident, for example, Zinn makes passing reference to “a revolutionary regime” that had recently seized power in Cambodia. That regime was, of course, the Khmer Rouge, one of the 20th century’s most incomprehensibly evil governments. Perhaps the Mayaguez incident really was all about propaganda – and Zinn makes a compelling case for that – so why avoid mentioning the Khmer Rouge? Because Zinn knows the connections a well-educated reader will draw? Because it brings up the fact that regadless of motive, rescuing the captured crew was the correct course of action? Zinn details how the crew were well-treated by their captors, as though that made it okay, despite previously discussing how the relatively happy lives of many American slaves did not make their slavery one jot less cruel.This is just one example of many small incidents throughout the book where I found myself disapproving of Zinn’s technique. I hesitate to draw comparison to Michael Moore, because Moore is much less elegant and refined and serious than Zinn, but he’s the only comparable figure I can think of: somebody presenting a one-sided argument that might even be called propaganda, and which should not be tolerated simply because it’s propaganda for what is good and right and just.Of couse Zinn, as mentioned above, openly acknowledges his bias and the motive behind it, and I would greatly prefer for people to read something that admits its bias rather than falsely claiming objectivity. The other important factor is, of course, that I am not the intended target for this book. A People’s History of the United States was written by an American, for Americans, in an effort to undermine the false assumptions and accepted wisdom prevalent in American culture, and particularly in American schools. As an Australian, I come from a culture where the United States is generally regarded quite poorly. Yet I could still draw parallels; although Australia is a far more egalitarian society, with a political system less corrupted by lobbyists and business interests, we too have classes, and politicans here also exploit our fears of foreigners as a convenient boogeyman. Here, too, the lower and middle classes are often bizarrely opposed to trade unions. Huge swathes of A People’s History of the United States, particularly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, revolve around the labor movement: the strikes, the protests, the sit-ins and the struggles. Although I also found these sections to be the most tedious, it was quite eye-opening to see a vision of the United States during a time when the poor were not held in Stockholm Syndrome with the rich.Clearly I’m not the best person to judge the value of this book. I certainly don’t think it’s a book you should read uncritically, nor without reading other books on American history. But it certainly has a valuable place in American political and historical discourse, and the purpose Zinn wrote it for is a noble one. Apparently he copped a lot of flak because the outlook of the book was so depressing, but I actually found his personal opinion to be quite positive, particularly in chapters towards the end where he describes his vision of the future, where the military-industrial complex has been overthrown and the American government concerns itself with all of its people, not just the wealthiest. This is not a belief I share; I look at Americans protesting Obama, a man no different from any of his predecessors except in the colour of his skin, chanting about how he is a socialist and a Marxist and a communist. I look at them and I wonder how they can possibly be so oblivious, how they can possibly not realise that all their beliefs and values have been shaped by think-tanks and politicians with the delibarate intent of keeping theem in check; no different, except in volume, from working class Australians who vote for the Liberal Party because they’re frightened of boat people. I could wish that every American would read A People’s History of the United States, but a good chunk of them would throw it aside as “communist rubbish,” and another good chunk would lap up every thing Zinn says without thinking laterally, and would then go spraypaint a local council chamber while listening to Muse. I think what I’m saying is that most people are idiots and deserve what they get from the government.Um, I mean, it was a bit boring sometimes but a really thought-provoking book. Recommended.more
This book was very eye-opening. I love learning about other perspectives of history. I loved that Zinn included lots on women's history.The wording is a little tough to get through, but once I really got into the book, I just flew through it.more
Phenomenal. Astounding. Horrifying and moving. That's about as far as I can get to articulate how amazing this book is. EVERY American should read it.more
A must-read history of the United States for anyone who wants to truly understand the development of this country. Zinn's writing is engaging, and he tells an eye-opening version of the facts behind the childhood stories we were told in school. The European explorers and settlers of America are usually presented as heroes, but Zinn reveals the cruelty and brutality of their efforts to exterminate the indigenous population. And the rest of this history is equally enlightening. Highly recommended.more
Hands down, must read, if you're not bothered by poking and prodding your national consciousness.more
Excellent overall history of the united states told through the viewpoint of the average citizen. Zinn debunks lots of myths of our national heros and gives a full accounting of what they actually did vice what who are brainwashed into believing they did. A must read for any one interested in an honest accounting of how this country started and what it is actually based on. This book will change your life.more
In light of Mr. Zinn's passing, everyone should read this book. Mr. Zinn spent his life researching the dark side of American history, bringing it into the mainstream and informing others of his knowledge.more
This is the "alternate" side of history you may have been taught in high school. Howard Zinn does exactly what he says in presenting a history "disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements", and should be read in that context. Given the honest bias, this should be read after or in parallel with a more complete view of history as he does not give the larger context of US and world events, and I he presupposes a knowledge in the reader of these "larger" issues. A well written and dense work. I would suggest the potential reader start with Chapter 23 where Zinn is more direct in his purpose where he summarizes "the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going".No matter what your political leaning, there is something for you in this book - outrage at the atrocities of the "elites", or outrage at Zinn's sometime simplistic hinting that America is run by a group of "elites" conspiring to keep everyone else down.more
Many thought-provoking passages, especially where the history presented intersected with the history I learned more thoroughly in school (I'm still a little vague on the general goings-on in the US between 1900 and 1919). Over-all the information and presentation are well put together, with the bias of the work unapologetic but acknowledged, which is more than I can say for a lot of the histories that Zinn wrote this work in argument to.more
Forgot about this book until the death of Howard Zinn. Dr. Zinn did us all a favor with the "other side" of American History. It should be mandatory reading to graduate from High School and again from College! All History is written by the winners -- Zinn tells the story of the losers in America History.more
NOT the standard version of American history you learned it school. Instead, Zinn does just what he says, and presents U.S. history from the viewpoint of ordinary, non-famous, people -- mostly of them poor. On top of this, Zinn imposes his own (very strong) viewpoint: from the left, the w-a-a-y left. At times, this can drive a more middle of the road reader into talking back (no, Howard, modern capitalism is not entirely a plot). It is, however, an invigorating antidote to the standard view of American history.more
The one history book you should read.more
As a reference or an additional information source, this isn't terrible (4 stars). It really does hit a lot of high points & some that other histories have left out. The writing is good. While dry, it is readable & conveys a lot of information. My copy is an old one that only goes through the Vietnam war. He has updated versions to 2003, I believe.It is NOT a balanced view of our history & is proposed reading for schools (minus 1 star). It shouldn't be unless read with other materials as it only tells part of the story. If you want to know anything about how minority groups were mistreated, you'll find it here. While accurate, the view is so unbalanced as to become nauseating after a while (minus another star). While most historians have an axe to grind, most do it more subtly than Zinn does. To the best of my knowledge, he doesn't gossip nor present any incorrect facts, he does present his facts in such a way as to slam our government at every turn. He does bring up some points that many other histories have glossed over, though (add one star). For instance, in the early history of the United States, he is very careful to point out every group not represented by the Constitution, yet makes no mention of the fact that these people were not represented before the Revolution either. It's good that he brings up the point, but not so great that he leaves the impression that they obviously should have been. It wasn't obvious to the people of that time that they should have been represented. Men of property made the decisions & always had. Women, slaves & men without property didn't get a say. That they eventually did says a lot for the foundation these men laid, which Zinn carefully avoids.So overall it is a good thing to read, but only with another history to balance it at hand.more
This book should be required reading for anyone in high school. And again in college. And again in graduate school. And again at any entry level job. You get the point.This book highlights the untold story behind history. As they say, history is written by the winners. This is the story of the losers. Read it. Soak it in. And realize that there are many more losers in history than winners. Then decide which group you're a part of....you'll never be the same again after reading this book.more
Point blank, this book is amazing.The only reason I gave it a four instead of a five is that it's so dense and at times I found myself getting slightly bored.Other than that, however, I adore this book and consider it a must-read for all Americans.more
Perhaps every generation feels like its lived through particularly "interesting" times. Howard Zinn's 'People's History of the United States' confirms them all to be correct. Quite a tome, this dense book traces American history - from the arrival of Columbus to modern day - from the perspective of the average American. Read: not rich, not powerful, not white, not male, maybe not even a citizen; a version of history from the perspective of "we the people".Despite that it sat on my shelf unread for at least a year, its actually quite readable. In fact Zinn's version of American history is engaging partly because it is so different from what you learned in grade school. What is history but a compendium of facts? Well Zinn's 'People's History' demonstrates that "his"tory is indeed quite different than "our"story. An examination of the facts from the people's perspective reveals the hypocrisy of America - the story of Democracy verses the reality. Gone are the great highs we celebrated - the Boston Tea Party, the Louisiana Purchase, WWII - in 'People's History" they're all sullied. Looked at through Zinn's lens its difficult to not feel a little cynical about the governing class and a lot skeptical about their rationale for action.That said, I have renewed appreciation for what "the people" can accomplish with a little passion and creativity. Rather than progress being the result of great acts by "great men", Zinn leads us to believe that most good things have come about due to an unruly public clamoring for their rights. Evidence that indeed "Well-behaved women rarely make history".I don't regret being rooted in the idealistic image of America, but Americans should be equally versed in this side as well. For the answer to the question of 'why do they hate us?' you need look no further.more
Often dismissed as leftist revision, Zinn's work is the history that you were not indoctrinated with. It shows America - warts and all. You'll find all those things that were swept under the rug, which is too bad because those are the very things that made America great. The courage of miners to take on the companies for better wages and work conditions. This created better wages and work conditions for us today. The courage of abolisionists to break bad laws in aid of an oppressed people. In the end, it freed us all. In reading this book you get the sense of who really are the heros of America. Most of the time it was someone we never heard of while growing up. It reaffirms that America is more than politicians and rich men, but an entire continent of people molding a better life. It reaffirms that it is the middle class that runs the place in the end. My recommendation for focus is the early 20th century and how the public took on the powers that be.more
Lovers of history should read this book! Zinn presents an unbiased account of history, often supported by quotations of people who were there. This book contains everything they didn't want to teach you in school! Appropriate for high school and beyond...more
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