Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up.
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, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country’s greatest battles—the fights 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 President Clinton’s first term, A People’s History of the United States features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.
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, like 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. [Publisher’s description.]
More than two million copies sold.
The 35th anniversary edition, published in November of 2015, includes a new introduction by Anthony Arnove. He begins,
Howard Zinn fundamentally changed the way millions of people think about history with A People’s History of the United States. He would be the first to say, however, that he didn’t do so alone. The book grew out of his awareness of the importance of social movements throughout U.S. history, some of which he played an active role in during the 1960s and 1970s and beyond, namely the Civil Rights Movement, mass mobilizations to end the Vietnam War, as well as other antiwar movements, and the many movements for higher wages and workers’ rights and the rights of women, Latinos, Native Americans, gays and lesbians, and others.
Quotes and Reviews
“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, for the New York Times Book Review
I remember first reading A People’s History of the United States while on a train going to work. After reading about how the Tainos had their hands cut off when they didn’t bring back enough gold, I had to put the book down. I felt betrayed by our education system. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of this before, especially as a man in his mid-twenties. From that point forward I decided that if I ever had the opportunity to teach, I would use this book as the classroom textbook. A People’s History of the United States allows citizens to confront the most unpleasant acts of the past in order to gain strength to move on into the future. —Julian Hipkins III, Washington, D.C., High School U.S. History Teacher
Because of this book, I understood early in my college career the importance of the true, unfiltered words of the actual actors in a historical event. As a result, I was drawn further into the study of history and, eventually, into my career as a history teacher. What A People’s History brought to my attention is that American history is much more interesting than that. Our history is an exciting, sometimes appalling, struggle for power and that makes us just like every other country that has ever existed. . . . A long list of “good guys” with no one to struggle with is neither a true story nor a good story. It doesn’t resonate because it leads the student to believe that we are all waiting for the next exceptional leader, instead of becoming a force for change in our own communities. A People’s History helped me recognize this as a student of history and inspires my attempt to bring true stories to young people, weary of the inaccessible lists that history teaching has become. —Reynolds Bodenhamer, Gulfport, Mississippi, 11th-Grade U.S. History Teacher
Read more quotes from teachers about the impact of Howard Zinn and A People’s History of the United States on their work.
ISBN: 9780062397348 | Published by HarperCollins.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress
Chapter 2. Drawing the Color Line
Chapter 3. Persons of Mean and Vile Condition
Chapter 4. Tyranny Is Tyranny
Chapter 5. A Kind of Revolution
Chapter 6. The Intimately Oppressed
Chapter 7. As Long as Grass Grows or Water Runs
Chapter 8. We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God
Chapter 9. Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom
Chapter 10. The Other Civil War
Chapter 11. Robber Barons and Rebels
Chapter 12. The Empire and the People
Chapter 13. The Socialist Challenge
Chapter 14. War Is the Health of the State
Chapter 15. Self-help in Hard Times
Chapter 16. A Peoples War?
Chapter 17. Or Does It Explode?
Chapter 18. The Impossible Victory: Vietnam
Chapter 19. Surprises
Chapter 20. The Seventies: Under Control?
Chapter 21. Carter-Reagan-Bush: The Bipartisan Consensus
Chapter 22. The Unreported Resistance
Chapter 23. The Coming Revolt of the Guards
Chapter 24. The Clinton Presidency
Chapter 25. The 2000 Election and the “War on Terrorism”