am 21. Juni 2000
I can remember sitting in elementary and high school history classes spending a great deal of time learning about the following:
* "Explorers" as great men that mapped the way for the destinies of Spanish, French, and English men. Of all explorers, 2 (Coronado and Pizzaro) were described to me as having "bad tempers" and killing a few indians for gold.
* Russia, the worst country in the world. America was the "greatest" country in the world and acted to protect the world from the red. Russians were all vodka drinking, steriod using, boxers (ALA Rocky 4), and wanted to take over the world, particularly the US.
* Indians were "moved" from their land, with no mention of the destruction of their culture (I feel guilty just sitting on this land).
* Morgan, Rockefeller, Carneige, were geniuses that made the US a global economic power. They built many wonderful institutions of higher learning to help the hungry people.
* Strikes are bad things that greedy, lazy, people do.
* American troops accidentally "discovered" the concentration camps and we had no previous knowledge of their existence.
* When James Madison wrote "We the People..." he meant everyone.
* Abraham Lincoln was the hero of the Civil War and worked tirelessly for slaves' freedom.
* Lewis & Clark, The War of 1812, The California Gold Rush, and The Civil War were the only 4 things that happened in the 19th century.
* World War I, the League of Nations, The New Deal, and WW2 were the only things that happened in the first half of this century. While Vietnam and Civil Rights were the only things that have happened since.
"People's History" will change this kind of history that I was exposed to during my first 12 years in education. Shame on those teachers for not presenting the plight of 90% of the people, and shame on me for not realizing on my own.
am 20. März 2000
This has been said by several other reviewers, but obviously it needs to be said again, because people aren't getting it. Stop calling Howard Zinn BIASED ! One of the central insights Howard Zinn has always tried to share with us is that EVERY HISTORIAN IS BIASED. There is simply too much history for any signifigant amount of it to be written down ever. Therefore, the historian, no matter how long his book is, must be very selective in what events he/she chooses to record. By choosing some events and leaving out other he/she is making a tacit value-judgement ( "these events are important and these aren't" ). Now, Howard Zinn's point of view is that the suffering of the masses is more important then whether or not so-and-so was really good at making money and/or killing people. That's why Howard Zinn's heros are the defender's of personal freedom ( Harriet Tubman, Eugene B. Debs, etc. ), not military heros and rich white men that happened to be elected president. Now, if you see Howard Zinn as biased, but think that the history books that everyone reads in school aren't biased then congradulations!, you've been successfully brain-washed. The difference between Howard Zinn and most historians is this: Most historians are biased in favor of the rich and powerful; Howard Zinn is biased in favor of everybody else.
am 2. Februar 2000
For several years of the last decade, I taught Advanced Placement U.S. History at a high school in northern Virginia. When I began the course, Zinn had already been assigned by my predecessor, and I needed a counterpoint to the main text (Bailey and Kennedy's bombastic, traditionalist, and short-on-social history "Pageant of the American Nation"). Zinn's deftly written book provided a fortunate antithesis to the "march of presidents and industrial titans" approach to American history. I found many chapters of this book to be such excellent stimulants to class discussions that I extended their use into my non-AP U.S. history classes, where students, many of whom could not otherwise have cared less about history, found themselves reading an interesting and provocative historian for the first time in their lives. Many of the best discussions I ever had with my classes (both AP and "regular") began with assigned chapters from Zinn. From there, it was an easy step to move on to the idea of historiography (the history of how history has been interpreted) and to decoupling my students from thinking of the textbook as revealed wisdom.
Yes, this book has its faults, as many of the previous reviews point out. It is very left-leaning. It does sometimes omit factual points that do not support its line of argument. It does sometimes verge on equating the misdeeds of American leaders with the horrific malevolence of the leaders of totalitarian states. It does romanticize its heroes.
For all that, though, this book is an excellent introduction to U.S. history if read as a contrasting voice to more traditional narratives. It is a fine and vigorous antidote to the excessively reverent tone of many high school textbooks. It conveys a sense of moral passion that is often lacking in these texts, which are typically take great pains to offend no one, particularly regarding events within living memory. Not all contemporary texts are this bloodlessly terrible, but many are. One of the best things about Zinn's histories is that he leaves in the drama that the standard texts insist on draining out.
"A People's History" begins with a bold thesis, and keeps it at center stage--namely, that those with power and wealth consistently extend it to others only when the situation has reached the level of deep crisis, and only with the minimum and uppermost fraction of the discontended needed to co-opt them and defeat the dissent of the remainder, often also turning otherwise natural allies into antagonistic contenders for "table scraps" from the banquet in the process. And as Zinn argues repeatedly, this grudging and incomplete inclusion, made reality by the courage and convictions of average men and women, has been the engine that has driven most if not all extentions of both liberty and equality in U.S. history, and that this is a continuing and unfinished process, awaiting future generations of idealists possessing the courage of their own convictions. I admire this book (and this author) for inculcating this idea among young readers.
For young adults who have an interest in U.S. history, or for parents who wish to engage their teen's interest in history, this book is a great place to start. It also might be the start of a few conversations at home about justice, fairness, equality, morality, the probity of leaders, etc. Since it argues more from a passion for justice and equality, a sense of burning indignation, and a highly debatable point of view, those desiring balance should pair it with something less withering in its assessment toward the history of the American state. This is an excellent history for the newly interested, or for those readers looking for an alternative perspective.
am 12. Mai 2015
As a typical school kid you get a (un)healthy dose of "Rah rah" American history glorifying the exploits of the explorers, the first settlers, the revolution, the founding fathers, western expansion, emancipation and the country's emergence as a super power propagating truth, justice and the American way. It's no wonder that you never notice the blinders slipped over your eyes; and, the propaganda machine of politics and public opinion does nothing to expand or clarify your horizons. Howard Zinn tells a different story: A story of misguided greed, corruption and indifference to human suffering. It will either open your eyes or cause you to abandon reading and go back to Fox News.
am 26. August 2010
Das Buch ist mittlerweile ein Klassiker und halt einen eigenen Kult.
Der Autor ist Professor für Geschichte und erzählt die amerikanische Historie von der Entdeckung Columbus' an sehr detailliert. Er stellt den Weg seines Heimatlandes in den Situationen derer dar, die politisch unterdrückt wurden und es derzeit sind, und zeigt dadurch soziale Missstände auf.
Ungeachtet dessen nimmt Zinn keine eigene politische Bewertung iSv. Gut oder Böse vor. Er erzählt die Geschichte nur, gibt aber kein bewertenden Kommentare dazu ab.
Es ist kurzweilig geschrieben und erfüllt daher alle Ansprüche an ein gutes Buch. Jeder, der sich für Amerika interessiert, kommt hieran nicht vorbei. Es ist sowohl für historische und politische Laien geeignet wie für Vorgebildete.
Das Buch eignet sich auch hervorragend als Geschenk für Personen, die sich in Richtung neuzeitliche, insb. amerikanische Geschichte etwas interessieren. Ich habe es probiert!
Das Buch hätte drucktechnisch noch etwas kleiner und dünner gehalten werden können; es steht groß im Regal da. Aber das tut der Qualität keinen Abbruch. Deshalb immer noch 5 Sterne.
Der Preis ist angemessen.
am 26. Mai 2016
Zinn's book would have been a perfect read for students in communistic countries. Maybe the author was dreaming of seeing his portrait next to Marx and Lenin on the red flag. Too bad the book was published only in 1999, many years after the idea of socialism/communism and the theory of class struggle had been proven deadly wrong and not compatible with human nature. Good for Zinn, he lived in a country where he was not only allowed to publish his ideas but even to sell books. Amazing. In a socialist society, which he is obviously dreaming of on every page, such a critic of the system could have never done like that without facing severe consequences and probably spending the rest of his life in a labour camp.
The book, with the convenient benefit of hindsight, is pretty much a stringing together of all the big. small and minor events in American history, often taken out of their context, that Zinn desperately tries to connect to 'class struggle' and the 'big business suppresses the people' - sort of idea. It is just miserable and bad. The world is different. Fortunately.
am 11. März 2000
Zinn's epic, energized yet sometimes empty-minded undertaking: People's History hit home as a text which - finally - attempted to answer the question, "America...for whom?" And despite some shortcomings - which I will momentarily address - it at least never wavered from its central tenet that an immensely detailed story of America's underclass is largely untold. Ostensibly written as an example of Affirmative Action itself, the book gave the impression of a work trying to make up - in one great, $15 swoop - for perceived ideological and prioritization wrongs made by prior scholars of the proverbial American Experience. This book (and maybe Zinn's existence as an accepted commentator?) seems necessary only because of such transparent, top-down versions of American history which have so overtly made their way into US high schools. Now instead of wailing a pointless, overly passionate diatribe thrashing Zinn's Marxist/class-laden analysis - or rather critique - of the US, I'll keep it to three simple points: 1. Germany. Though I - like Zinn - find the bombing Dresden an unacceptable and deplorable event of the war, I feel greatly disturbed/confused with his argument depicting British/US bombing efforts as more needless and inhumane than those of Germany (413). Are readers to believe that the British/US military was more barbaric, thoughtless, and heartless than the German army in WWII? If not, why make this comparison between the two forces? 2. The New York Times. Zinn's, at times, enormous use of New York Times citations seems extremely outdated when stacked next to such works and largely-held ideas as a myth of the liberal media. Especially in light of the view radical circles have of the Times - and often rightfully so - as nothing more than an extension of the US press release machine, how could Zinn place so much trust into this libertarian, mainstream publication? With every reference to the so-called paper of record, his credibility took a beating. 3. Patriotism. Zinn's fluid, aggressive and radically-charged read made me both despise, yet yearn to fix institutional politics. His mutilation of America's two party system as a tool to aid America's underclass so incisively struck a chord in my political thought process, that I feel I will never be able to vote again for a major party candidate. And yet at the same time, I've never felt my vote counted more. Aw, shucks.
am 30. Mai 2013
Ich habe das Buch gekauft, weil ich Anglistik studiere und weil ich persönlich mehr über Amerikas Geschichte und sozio-politische Ereignisse erfahren wollte.
Ist sehr verständlich und für jedermann zugänglich.
am 30. Januar 2000
There is no such thing as an unbiased history book. Any historian is telling history from a perspective. We have plenty of history books written from the perspective of the top dogs. We need more books that tell it from the perspective of the underdogs. Each of us is responsible for examining the facts and reaching our own conclusions. I have a low regard for people not willing to do so.
I don't agree with everything this fellow says or even the way he says it, but I consider him a brave man trying to fill some important gaps.
I do not think he did a good job of discussing Abraham Lincoln. To me, he seems to suggest Lincoln was not radical enough. The problem with that notion is that if Lincoln had been any more outspoken before the war, he would never have become President. He was already considered so radical that the South seceded over his election and many Northerners hated his guts. It was only after years of hard war that the North was prepared to think of the war as one to end slavery.
I also found a factual error related to his coverage of the Civil War. Fort Pillow was in Tennessee, not Kentucky! It shocks me that an error like this was in the 20th anniversary edition. Has no else noticed this in 20 years? Shame!
I also disagree with the idea that sanctions might have gotten Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. I doubt that very seriously. The real question is whether you or I should have been willing to lay down our lives to save the Kingdom of Kuwait. Unlike most armchair patriots, my answer is "Hell no!" Let the Arabs fight their own damn battles.
The bottom line is that I got a lot out of reading this book even though I disagree with parts of it.
am 21. August 2012
Warum ich mir dieses Buch gekauft habe und gelesen habe wundert mich heute noch immer. Wahrscheinlich hat mich mein Studium der Wirtschaftswissenschaften damals nicht ausgelastet...
Das Buch ist auch auf Englisch relativ gut zu lesen, man sollte ein gewisses Niveau mitbringen - aber auch ich konnte es lesen - somit muss das Sprach-Niveau auch nicht zu hoch sein.
Das Buch enthält eine unglaubliche Fülle an Informationen, die vielen Leute hier in Europa und noch mehr Leuten in den USA so wahrscheinlich nicht bekannt sind. Leider war der erste Teil mit der Besiedelung und Kolonialisierung der Landmasse der heutigen Vereinigten Staates für mich zwar informativ, aber auch etwas uninteressant und somit echt zäh. Sehr interessant wurde es dann für mich im 19. Jahrhundert.
Man darf das Buch auch nicht als Machtwerk für alle USA-Hasser abstempeln, ich finde sehr viele Sachen an den USA gut und war immer wieder gerne dort, aber dieses Buch beleuchtet ein paar Themen, die der Durchschnittsbürger (Europa/USA) so nicht auf dem Schirm hat.
Deshalb: Wer Zeit und Lust für diesen Brocken hat, der kann bedenkenlos zugreifen.