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A People's History of the United States

af Howard Zinn

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

Serier: A People's History

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
14,333150369 (4.23)263
USA's historie i perioden 1492-2001 set gennem bl.a. indianeres, slavers, arbejderes og kvinders øjne. Fokus er på sociale uligheder fra det tidlige amerikanske samfund og frem til Bill Clintons regeringstid.
Nyligt tilføjet aferickersting2, privat bibliotek, Shelli12920, ebobka, lschiff, NBMarat, maddicts, edgecase
Efterladte bibliotekerDavid Robert Jones

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» Se også 263 omtaler

Engelsk (144)  Hollandsk (2)  Spansk (1)  Norsk (1)  Fransk (1)  Alle sprog (149)
Viser 1-5 af 149 (næste | vis alle)
"It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." Thus famously said Anne Frank. I have lived my life clinging similarly to this idea. Howard Zinn's magnificent book makes it difficult. I choose not to shy away from hard or inconvenient truths. But Zinn reveals so many of them, there is such an onslaught of greed and racism and cruelty and deliberate inhumanity on display throughout American history in this unprettied-up, clear-eyed focus on the facts behind American "glory" that I often had a hard time returning to the book. The divisions, the hatred, the false patriotism, the undisguised greed, the twisting of facts that seem to define our current era are no new propositions. They've been with us since before the founding of the nation. But history, usually, is written by the winners, and winners rarely want the world to know what they were capable of in order to win. Zinn set out to write a history of America not from the perspective of the powerful, but from that of the defeated, the poor, the downtrodden, those discriminated against, and, often, the losers in centuries of conflict and ostensible progress. I think Zinn loves America as I do. But I think he, as I, have no interest in a fairy-tale version of our history where goodness and decency has always triumphed. Saint Paul said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Freedom does not come from being suckered by pretty lies and distortions. Mankind is a magnificent entity, but it is also a cruel, vindictive, and greedy entity, as well, and history is shaped far more drastically by these qualities than by man's better angels. Zinn rips the blinders off. It's not pretty, but it is an absolutely necessary viewpoint if we are to know who we are and what we stand for. This book is a masterpiece of history, of journalism, and of writing. ( )
  jumblejim | Aug 26, 2023 |
My 9th grade history teacher told us that if we only remembered one thing from her class, it should be this: All history is an interpretation.

Almost no historians acknowledge this in their works written for the public, but Zinn admits it right up front. "Thus, 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...."

Instead of using traditional interpretations, the ones typically presented in high school history books, he looks at history through a different lens, the lens of class and racial conflict. While this is fairly commmonplace today, this book was borderline revolutionary when it was first published in 1980. (I read the revised and updated edition from 2003.)

While he sometimes uses anecdotes to generalize and overstate the feelings and sentiments of "the people," this is an important work, one that laid the groundwork for all of the new histories that followed.

Regardless of your politics, this book should be read, if for no other reason, to remind us all what Mrs Hoffman taught us in 9th grade: All history is an interpretation. ( )
  evenlake | Jun 26, 2023 |
Instructive and eye-opening.

Lots of facts and things that surprised me, and yet made me understand the ethos of the country so much better.

My one criticism is that this is more of a *complimentary* history book, rather than a history book - it (importantly!) presents facts that are often neglected, but also neglects facts that are assumed to be common knownledge.

This is probably just a very personal observation, since I don't know that much about USA history (and therefore probably not the target audience for the book in a way). But I felt a bit lost sometimes, and almost felt like I should have consulted a few mainstream history books first so I could follow along better.

Regardless, this is an important book to have been written, that's for sure. I can see why it's worth the praise it has received, and I'm glad it exists. ( )
  zeh | Jun 3, 2023 |
Zinn isn't wrong about Columbus - if any thing he pulls his punches. Nonetheless, A People's History is characterized by the myopia of a flattened class analysis, and an affinity for extreme action characteristic of the habituated impotence which is not even capable of wielding political power.

Zinn's is a kind of vulgar populism with near-monomaniacal fixation on violence as the only means of 'true' political change and already enshrined as its own end. Justified by an exhausting (though not exhaustive) catalog of the uncountable dead at the hands of Empire and Capital. Violence (of the oppressed) therefore always finds its justification, though it is uncertain whether violent populism, in the very act by which it succeeds, destroys that which it seeks to preserve: mutual respect between people and the belief in a better society.

Though Zinn makes a conscious effort to include BIPOC and Women's liberation movements in the text, the intentional placement of these struggles in the historical materialist context of 'Class Struggle' flattens the particularity of individuals along the spectrum of labor exploitation and into an easy continuum with the white working classes, and finally the petit bourgeois Reader. Understanding of bigotry as 'The opiate of the masses,’ though true in many cases, is an obvious over-simplification and continues to impede modern political discourse by furnishing simplified objects which are all impediments to actual thought.

A People's History is an admission of impotence (and rejoices in this state). Particularly in its account of the late 20th century, it is reminiscent of the attitude of those who, more recently, were gloating at the news of the death of Margaret Thatcher. In the absence of any significant political power (from which perspective the death of a member of the old guard of the opposition party, long since retired, would have meant nothing) one has resorted to rejoicing at the pain and suffering inflicted by nature [time] itself hypostatized as a kind of righteous vengeance. An analogous example occurs in the text with death of Nixon. Impotence cannot tolerate even the ironic tongue-in-cheek political niceties of the established order. It perceives itself as ‘playing for keeps’ at every moment, and perhaps for this very reason is (almost) always stymied in the attempt to wield the power it craves:
“Both Clinton and Yeltsin, on the occasion of the death of Richard Nixon, expressed admiration for the man who had continued the war in Vietnam, who had violated his oath of office, and who had escaped criminal charges only because he was pardoned by his own Vice President. Yeltsin called Nixon “one of the greatest politicians in the world,” and Clinton said that Nixon, throughout his career, “remained a fierce advocate for freedom and democracy around the world.”
If I can presume to presume, Zinn would have preferred Clinton call Nixon a 'War Criminal' on that occasion - a true statement - which would have been cathartic, if not vicious. But does it make sense for Clinton to speak the truth here - obvious to everyone - yet likely to cause significant political damage to his party? From Alinsky we know that in politics everything is permissible, the question is: "Is it effective?" He is already president. Clinton can afford to 'take an L', and confidently say something he knows everyone knows is false. It is only the impotent and the politically naïve who are compelled to shout the 'harsh truth' at every moment, and for this exact reason are denied.

I come away from A People's History feeling that Zinn doesn't have a great understanding of the modern electorate. Zinn's primary evidence for the feelings of the electorate are opinion polls. These demonstrate that the reactionary welfare cuts/’tough on crime’ rhetoric which was a prominent feature of both parties in the late 20th century was actually unpopular with voters on both sides. Apparently these slogans are at the same time something the electorate disagrees with (in which case the polls are right but the politicians just want to lose elections) and also a distraction of the elite classes which the electorate is convinced to believe (in which case the polls are wrong/oversimplified). Zinn demonstrates the latter is more likely with an example that is supposed to prove his point:
“This was certainly true as a general proposition, that Americans wanted to pay as little in taxes as possible. But when they were asked if they would be willing to pay higher taxes for specific purposes like health and education, they said yes, they would. For instance, a 1990 poll of Boston area voters showed that 54 percent of them would pay more taxes if that would go toward cleaning up the environment.”
This demonstrates that Americans in 1990, even when given perfect information that their taxes would go directly toward improving society (a situation Zinn himself shows is divorced from the reality of the fiscal budget) the vote is still barely on his side. Time and again Zinn shows the vast majority of voters agree with him when asked questions like, 'The government should spend more to help people,' and 'Sentencing for minor criminal offenses should be more lenient," but I am not at all convinced these same people don't clamor to vote for someone who is 'tough on crime' and wants to punish 'welfare queens'. Like most things in political messaging, it is a question of phrasing.

Hatred of the Clintons (but from the left) - political premonitions. Hillary's plan is 'too detailed':
“Despite Clinton’s 1997 Inauguration Day promise of a “new government,” his presidency offered no bold program to take care of these needs. For instance, although public-opinion polls through the eighties and nineties indicated that the American people would support a program of free universal medical care supported by the general treasury, Clinton was reluctant to advocate this. Instead, he put his wife, Hillary, in charge of a commission whose final report was over a thousand pages long, impossibly dense and complicated, and yet offering no answer to the problem: how to assure every American medical care, free of the intervention of profiteering insurance companies.”
Summary of the tension of the historical materialist analysis in the text itself:
“When Susan Anthony, at eighty, went to hear Eugene Debs speak (twenty-five years before, he had gone to hear her speak, and they had not met since then), they clasped hands warmly, then had a brief exchange. She said, laughing: 'Give us suffrage, and we’ll give you socialism.' Debs replied: 'Give us socialism and we’ll give you suffrage.'”
( )
  Joe.Olipo | Nov 26, 2022 |
Should be required reading for everyone in America, whether or not they are in school. ( )
  Rob_Whaley | Sep 8, 2022 |
Viser 1-5 af 149 (næste | vis alle)
Covering the period from 1492 practically to the present, this illuminating opus overturns many conventional notions, not just about America's treatment of blacks, but about Native Americans, women, and other disenfranchised groups whose perspectives have traditionally been left out of the education equation.

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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Howard Zinnprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Arnove, AnthonyIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Cotton, FrédéricOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Stubel, ToniOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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USA's historie i perioden 1492-2001 set gennem bl.a. indianeres, slavers, arbejderes og kvinders øjne. Fokus er på sociale uligheder fra det tidlige amerikanske samfund og frem til Bill Clintons regeringstid.

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