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A People's History of the United States [Format Kindle]

Howard Zinn
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

“It’s a wonderful, splendid book—a book that should be read by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future.” —Howard Fast, author of Spartacus and The Immigrants

“[It] should be required reading.” —Eric Foner, New York Times Book Review

Library Journal calls Howard Zinn’s iconic A People's History of the United States “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those…whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories.” Packed with vivid details and telling quotations, Zinn’s award-winning classic continues to revolutionize the way American history is taught and remembered. Frequent appearances in popular media such as The Sopranos, The Simpsons, Good Will Hunting, and the History Channel documentary The People Speak testify to Zinn’s ability to bridge the generation gap with enduring insights into the birth, development, and destiny of the nation.

Quatrième de couverture

Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People's History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history 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, A People's History is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of–and in the words of–America's women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles–for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality–were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through the 2000 Election and the "war on terrorism," A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981 and has sold more than one million copies, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.

This new edition contains two new chapters covering the Clinton presidency, the 2000 Election, and the "war on terrorism," continuing Zinn's important contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history.


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1295 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 756 pages
  • Editeur : HarperCollins e-books; Édition : Rev Upd (14 janvier 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00338QF46
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°81.518 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 What is true HISTORY? 19 mars 2014
Par BABBLE
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
History should be written that way and this history book should be translated in French.
Personnally, I know that the 14-18 WWI in Europe had a terrible impact in my family's life, before I was born : my poor granddad lost a leg, and some fingers during this slaughter-war.
He was young, survived, but could no longer grow wine, a job his ancestors had been doing for generations in sunny southern France. Suffered all the rest of his life.
I guess wars can destroy and ruin ordinary, happy, big families in every sense of the word. And for generations. Time stops with wars.
I loved this book which relates the true History of the USA. The word "People", makes all the difference.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Enchantée 6 octobre 2013
Par Maugret
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
J'ai offert ce livre à ma meilleure amie, prof d'Anglais en Lycée. Elle est ravie à la lecture du livre et m'a confiée qu plus jamais, elle n'enseignerai l'Histoire des Etats-Unis de la même façon.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  1.589 commentaires
1.052 internautes sur 1.171 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A teacher of American History's POV 2 février 2000
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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.
330 internautes sur 387 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Umm... yeah, about those 400 years of oppression.... 1 janvier 2011
Par Chris Gladis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
History is, in its way, a fiction.

While it is made up of facts, things that are verifiable or at least reliably accepted as being what really happened, our understanding of history rests on a certain assumption that doesn't always hold up - that what we are reading or hearing is The Truth. It's how we learn about history when we're kids - that this happened and that happened, and that's all we really need to know.

The problem, however, is that what we got in our history books wasn't the entire story. Oh, it was true, for a given value of "true," but the historian who wrote the book did so with a specific narrative in mind, one that fit his or her perception of the past and which - more importantly - would sell textbooks to hundreds of schools across the country. The history that we get from those books is designed to appeal to the sensibilities of a populace that is already inclined to think well of its nation, and rarely deviates from the theme. While they do try to note the excesses, injustices and impropriety of the past, they tend to bury it in the glorious achievements of governments and industry.

Unfortunately, doing so means that there's a lot of history that gets left on the cutting room floor. Incidents, people, whole populations get brushed aside because either there's not enough room for them or because telling their story in detail ruins the mood that the historian is trying to set - usually one of bright optimism for a good and just nation.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, either. An historian cannot practically include all of the historical viewpoints, good and bad, into a book meant to be used for only 180 days out of the year. So out of expedience, if not a conscious desire to tell an uplifting tale, they write books that look upon our past as favorably as possible, while including just enough criticism of our failures to fend off any serious accusations of bias.

As Zinn tells us, though, there's no such thing as an historian without bias. Every historian has a story to tell, and Zinn has decided that he doesn't want to tell the one we're all used to hearing.

He starts in much the same place as most American history books - with the coming of Christopher Columbus to the New World. Immediately he reminds us that Columbus' mission was not one of exploration but of commerce, and that the first question he asked the natives of what he would label Hispanola was, "Where is your gold?"

It all went downhill from there.

Reading this book, it would be very easy to get depressed. I can see how those who were brought up with a healthy dose of American Exceptionalism (the idea that the United States obeys different rules from the rest of the world and, more importantly, cannot do wrong) would really dislike this book. It is page after page of lies, misdeeds, cruelty, greed and deception. It is the story a nation built not on the principle that all men are created equal, but that all men must be leashed to the yoke of the capitalist overclass. It's a tale of genocide and oppression, of revolts both peaceful and violent, and it never lets up for a moment.

To his credit, Zinn tells us right up front that he's going to take the side of the oppressed, the dispossessed and the put-down, and there's no way you can tell that story without it being really depressing. It's pretty clear pretty quickly, though, where his sympathies lie:

"My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners."

His portrayal of the underclass, rebellious or not, is one of suffering nobility, and the System as a deliberately malevolent entity. Any good that it does is simply whatever was necessary to maintain its power, and the above quote speaks to that. The parallel structure that he uses effectively groups all of the upper class into the "persecutor" role, and the lower class into the "victims." And while there is some truth to that - human history, after all, is a long story of rich and powerful elites governing poor and powerless people - it is painting with too broad a brush, in my opinion. He seems to work from the premise that all those with power are bad, and so those without must therefore be good.

As much as I wish that admitting bias was an excuse for it, it isn't. It does a disservice to all involved to flatten your view of the American class system into a two-dimensional shadow play. Not all of the populist agitators were good and noble people, nor were all politicians cunning manipulators. Just keep that in mind as you read.

It's a sobering read, though, to say the least. The best simile I could come up with is that it's like watching your parents have sex. It's something that you always suspected went on, but you could have gone your whole life without being presented with the reality of it. So it is no surprise that, after reading this book, some people become absolutely insufferable, cynical and disillusioned.

If you've already gone through that stage of your political thinking, however, you find something else in this book - hope. It's something you have to dig for, but it is there, buried in the larger narrative that Zinn is telling us.

Given the amount of detail he goes into, it's very easy to lose sight of the larger picture at work. Zinn details slave rebellions, gives stories of workers pushed to the extremes of human existence, soldiers thrown away for nothing, and entire segments of the population ignored or actively persecuted. But alongside these horror stories come tales of resistance. Whether it's the quiet contemplation by a poor white farmer over whether he might have more in common with his black neighbors than his white landlords, riots of prisoners and guards against a corrupt prison system, or the militant, city-wide shutdowns organized by the Wobblies, the people can only be pushed so far. And while the Powers That Be are very good at figuring out how to distract, scare or defy the people, they eventually do make changes for the better, and everyone benefits a little bit.

Inasmuch as this book is a chronicle of America's misdeeds over the last few centuries, it is also a tale of Americans' triumphs. It is a tribute to the will of the people who, no matter how difficult it may have been, decided to stand up and demand respect from the men who held the reins of power. It is a testament to the women who wanted equality, the socialists who wanted a better world, the workers who wanted safe jobs at living wages, the blacks who wanted to be full citizens, and the Indians who wanted the wrongs of the past redressed.

Not everybody has gotten what they wanted - America is still very much a work in progress, and there is bound to be some backsliding as we go. What Zinn shows in this book is that no matter how bad the American government can be how greedy American business might become, the American people want what's best for themselves and, when the time comes, will stand up and shout for it. Given enough time, and enough courage, The United States will continue to be a better and better nation, and perhaps someday - someday - it will finally fulfill our expectations for it.

-------------------------------------------
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will...."
- Frederick Douglass, 1857
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1.302 internautes sur 1.575 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Raises important questions, terrible scholarship 5 janvier 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
THE GOOD: Professor Zinn raises important questions that test our long held assumptions about American history, and for this--the questions--the book should be read and discussed vigorously. The book is also very readible, with a flowing, yet serious style.

THE BAD: Unfortunately, the book suffers from two fatal flaws, and for this reason does not belong in a classroom (college or otherwise). First, Zinn fails to cite adequately his sources (no footnotes or endnotes), leaving the reader with only a vague sense of his source material. This is particularly unacceptable for a work that admits to be controversial. His excuse, in the preface, that the footnotes would be too voluminous, is lame at best. Witness Pulitzer winning historian McCullough's use of sources in his much acclaimed JOHN ADAMS.

Second, in presenting his evidence, Zinn fails to quantify meaningfully the culpability of those historical figures he wishes to evaluate from the 'people's' perspective, nor does he even discuss the limitations or challenges posed by the evidence, nor does he sufficiently discuss his methodology used for reaching his conclusions. Mostly, he simply cites judgments made in secondary sources. Any college student can do that, and we should expect more from a distinguished professor.

For instance, in his chapter on Columbus, he indicates that two years after Columbus landed on Hispanola the native Arawak population had nearly all died. He also cites evidence of some gratuitously harsh treatment by the Spanish-- but he does not really indicate the degree to which these events were isolated or the norm. Specifically: did the Arawaks perish as a result of systematic slaughter or from disease transmitted from Spanish soldiers? If only, say, 20% were slaughtered and the rest died from disease, our moral judgments would be different than if the case were reversed. This historical method characterizes his use of examples throughout the book: anecdotal pieces without proper context. To the extent Zinn fails to quantify or even discuss the problems of quantification (however crudely) he is really just putting on a sleight of hand. He invites the unsuspecting (or unsophisticated) reader to adopt inferences that might not be warranted or which the reader's emotions might have predisposed her.

Hence, though well written and fascinating for the questions it raises, the book fails to make its case stick and can be misleading. Read it, but with extreme caution, and try to recognize the sleights of hand for what they are. It's a pity: his inquiry is important, but his method undermines his case.
557 internautes sur 697 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 AN INTRIGUING READ, NOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS 27 mai 2003
Par Nearly Nubile - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
A quick look at the reviews for this book will tell you just how difficult it is for a reader of Zinn's works to whistle and walk on. Either one ends up savagely dismissing him as a petty caviller, or extolling his brand of "eye opening" wisdom. I doubt I can add anything purposeful to this seemingly hot debate because I approached this book with a different intent altogether.
I wanted this page of history to answer some of my business questions. How America came from a nowhere nation of vagrant Arawak Indian tribes just a few centuries ago to being a commerical (ok, and imperial) superpower in our times. My interest was not to equip myself with geewhiz anti-US trivia (although I picked up a fair bit on the way, tra la) but to answer the atavistic question of what promoted capitalistic thinking, meritocracy, love of freedom etc in the United states more than the rest of the planet (assuming this is true in the first place).
And in that department, I have to say that this book left me startled. It might sound presumptuous but the quick answer is that there is nothing specific in the history or the anthropological station of US in this century and the last that may have accentuated its drive for capitalism. What's more, America was and is, just like any other country on the planet, subject to the exact same vagaries of civilization/humanity/bigotry/dogma that make and mar an empire every few centuries or so. I also recognize why this is very difficult for Americans to identify with or agree to, specially Americans who typify the inward looking solipsism of the current generation and perhaps the last 2 or so.
I recommend this book highly as a VIEW of historical events that are difficult to deny occured. Whether the guardians of the old order spring into an attack or not this is bound to yank a lot of people (me included) out of a langour of perspective.
Not all books need to be read to be "liked". Even a book that makes you constantly revulse in disagreement is worth a read for that precise reason. 5 stars from me.
684 internautes sur 859 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Scholarship, Worthwhile 25 septembre 2001
Par Wyote - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Even people who hate Howard Zinn admit that he's a good scholar. But many people hate him, for sure--and you have to remember that when you're reading some of these reviews. On the other hand, most of the reviewers seem to be communists themselves, and so their gushing reviews should surprise no one.
I recommend the book with some reservations. Agree or disagree, perspectives like Zinn's keep us from becoming ignorant victims of ideological propaganda.
I recommend it because it is a great, well-informed, honest and self-conscious dissenting opinion. Anyone who wants to consider themselves educated needs to consider dissenting opinions frequently. But I have reservations. Most importantly, Zinn's purpose is not to introduce someone to American history. He assumes his readers already know the basics. Of course, many people do not. It's not a history of the US; it's a series of contentious corrections to the history traditionally taught in American classrooms. (Why did the Colonies defeat the British? What caused the depression? Why did Nixon visit China? Unless you know this much, this book isn't yet for you.)
Some reviewers complained about Zinn's tone. Zinn is an average writer; better than many academics but worse than any good writer.
Other reviewers seemed to assume that either communists or far-right conservatives aren't "students of history." But of course some are. Zinn and Newt Gingrich are both well-informed scholars.
(If it matters to you, I am neither communist nor right-wing; I'm just not a political thinker. I'm American, and I think Americans--all of us--can be proud and thankful; but we should recognize that our government and politicians have never been perfect. Ideologies often serve to control people, so dissenting opinions are vital for freedom's perseverance. But democracy and moderated capitalism have often succeeded in blessing their people, while communism has evidently failed everywhere, with more gruesome histories even than capitalism.)
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