Review: A People's History of the United States

Editorial Review -

A classic since its original landmark publication in 1980, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is the first scholarly work to tell America's story from the bottom up — 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. From Columbus to the Revolution to slavery and the Civil ... Read full review

User reviews

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chrisblocker - LibraryThing

In many ways, this is not my typical five-star review. The People's History of the United States is tedious, repetitive, and an overall slog to get through. Though so much of the information provided ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dangnad - LibraryThing

At an earlier time this book spelled out similar issues as "Lies My Teacher...". However, "People's..." tends to long and tedious in using way to many personal testimonials for every major point in the book. Start with "Lies...", come to his later. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aront - LibraryThing

Read this book! Invaluable insight into what Zinn calls"the most ingenious system of control" that is the US political system. Two criticisms: First, Zinn can be overly wordy. Second, Zinn is overly ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Marse - LibraryThing

Wow! What a depressing and enlightening book! I guess I've always suspected it, but it is pretty devastating to realize that our history is one of continual violence against "the people", that is the ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Although this book does provide some interesting perspective from the radical left, it leaves much to be desired. The book is unabashidly one sided. This book has absolutly no intelectual balance. Zinn does not even mention the opression and atrocities caused by other nations that greatly deminish much of the opresion caused by America. Zinn focuses his examples on the minority or minoritys. Howard Zinn is a partisan leftist radical. He is known to support the fringe 9/11 "Truth" movement. Zinn is your Average radical liberal history professor.  

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Howard Zinn's A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES: 1492-PRESENT is an excellent propaganda piece. However, given his level of education, it is difficult to understand the poor scholarship underlying the work.
Just as an example, Zinn uses Mary Wollstonecraft's response in A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN's response to a passage of Edmund Burke apparently deriding women in discussing the history of women's rights. The only problems with this are that: (1) the responses of Ms. Wollstonecraft to Burke's work were actually in A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN, not the later work and pertained to liberalism generally, not women's rights and (2) a close reading of the passages just prior to Burke's quote makes clear that what he is writing is NOT what he believes but what he considers to be the appalling result of following the ideas of the French partisans of "liberty." Thus, with a quote from Burke, a passage from Wollstonecraft which nowhere refers to Burke and some wrong information, Zinn leads us to a fraudulent conclusion.
To use another example, Zinn denigrates James Madison (often considered the Father of the Constitution and, separately, of the Bill of Rights), pointing out that while the Founders verbally supported liberty, Mr. Madison - as an example - was a major slave-owner and thus had an interest in maintaining slavery. This is true, as far as it goes (which isn't very far). In point of fact, James Madison, Sr. (the founder's father) was the slave-owner in question at the time of creation of the Constitution and, at the time, James Madison, Jr. was doing everything possible to separate himself from the institution of slavery, especially land speculation (see JAMES MADISON: A BIOGRAPHY by Ralph Ketchum). Only later did he allow family obligations to make him increasingly responsible for the plantation. Indeed, in his index, Zinn just throws everyone with the name James Madison together!
Another example is his dicussion of the development of the concept of Freedom of Speech / Freedom of the Press. In the back, he clearly indicates (with a *) that he heavily relied on Leonard Levy and it is certainly possible, by examining certain passages in Levy's works, to come to that conclusion; however a complete review of the entire section indicates that Levy, at least, believed that the British and American standards were different even before Federalists came to power and that a third (not a second, as per Zinn) developed in response to the actions of the Federalists.
These and other errors in the book are impossible to justify when one considers Zinn's status as a historian and one can only wonder if he doesn't think likely readers to ignorant to have read some of his sources not to mention other works which throw light on some of his assertions.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

A great populist view of history. Told not from the point of view of the victors of war, but from the point of view of the guileless exploitation of a dominant culture.

Review: A People's History of the United States

User Review  - Lenny - Goodreads

Soooooo much information. Howard Zinn, you are a historical rockstar. I am absolutely positive that I already don't remember half of the things I read in this book, and I just finished it yesterday ... Read full review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

All reviews - 4254
5 stars - 1913
4 stars - 1072
3 stars - 554
2 stars - 212
1 star - 196
Unrated - 307

All reviews - 4254

All reviews - 4254
Goodreads - 4176
Kirkus - 1