Summary: For much of his life, historian Howard Zinn has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version taught in schools — with its emphasis on great men in high places — to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace. Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is the only volume to tell America’s story from the point of view of — and in the words of — its women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers. Here we learn that many of our country’s greatest battles — labor laws, women’s rights, racial equality — were carried out at the grassroots level, against steel-willed resistance. This edition of A People’s History of the United States features insightful analysis of some of the most important events in this country in the past one hundred years. Featuring a preface and afterword read by the author himself, this audio continues Howard Zinn’s important contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history….Read more.
This book was required reading for my US History course at UCSD. Wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise but was pleased to find it truly fascinating! So grateful to have been introduced to this incredibly detailed, honest, and poignant picture of the history of our country!
Different take on American history that we were never taught in school! It’s amazing how we can take different history classes for 12 years and never learn the meat of the truth the way Zinn presents it. Appropriate title and an enlightening experience to read it.
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Howard Zinn: A People’s History Of The United States Audio Book Summary
It was not until I went to college that I realized just how much of what I had been taught in school was incorrect or biased. My US history classes, for example, always tended to focus on the positive aspects of American history and left out a lot of the more negative parts. For example, there was not much attention paid to the treatment of Native Americans or the realities of slavery.
However, during my freshman year at college, I took a class called “Introduction to American History.” One of the assigned books that we had to read was entitled “A Peopleís History of the United States.” Written by a historian named Howard Zinn in the early 1980s, this book tried to tell the real story of American history by focusing on average people, rather than just politicians and generals.
This book really opened my eyes to a lot of issues that I had never thought much about before. There is such a tendency to teach history as a succession of wars and Presidents and expansion. This focus really makes it hard to think about the ordinary men and women who were actually experiencing their lives at the time.
For example, many American history classes tend to put a lot of emphasis on the Presidents. We tend to think of the history of the country as a succession of men through the White House. While obviously who is President and what policies he supports has a big influence on the country, it may not have much to do with the day to day life of an ordinary American.
This was even more true in the early days of the country, when communication and transport were much slower. If you lived hundreds of miles away from Washington, DC, who was President may not have mattered to you very much. Local politics would be a lot more important to you in terms of its effect on your daily life.
Reading this book also made me think a lot more about the lives of Americans who were not well-off white men. It puts a lot of emphasis on women, African Americans, Native Americans, and other minorities, and emphasizes the ways in which events that may have seemed great from one point of view may not have been great for everyone. The book tries to give voice to groups that have often been kept silent.
Of course, the book is 35 years old now, so there has been a lot more work done in this tradition since then. Some of Zinn’s insights seem obvious now, but it is important to realize just how novel they seemed at the time. He was one of the first historians to try to bring this perspective to a wider audience.
I would definitely recommend “A People’s History of the United States” to anyone who wants to learn more about our country. Even if you do not agree with everything it says, it is still important to consider Zinn’s point of view.