A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Joshism

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Has anyone read this book? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

And what is the book's view of the American Civil War?

I have not read it. Looking at reviews, it seems to get a lot of criticism for attempting to demolish American exceptionalism, but it also seems to be a proponent of the "all history is rich white men oppressing everyone else" (and seems to be responsible for numerous similiar books on specific regions or periods of history). I don't believe in American exceptionalism, but I also don't believe in the "all history is oppression" theory. I reject pretty much any theory of history that attempts to explain all history in a one sentence political narrative. See also Marxist Theory (the struggle between labor and capital) or Libertarian Theory (the struggle of glorious personal freedom against government tyranny).
 

Al Mackey

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Has anyone read this book? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

And what is the book's view of the American Civil War?

I have not read it. Looking at reviews, it seems to get a lot of criticism for attempting to demolish American exceptionalism, but it also seems to be a proponent of the "all history is rich white men oppressing everyone else" (and seems to be responsible for numerous similiar books on specific regions or periods of history). I don't believe in American exceptionalism, but I also don't believe in the "all history is oppression" theory. I reject pretty much any theory of history that attempts to explain all history in a one sentence political narrative. See also Marxist Theory (the struggle between labor and capital) or Libertarian Theory (the struggle of glorious personal freedom against government tyranny).
I read it and enjoyed it immensely, even though I disagreed with a number of his conclusions. It really made me think and revisit all I knew and thought I knew about American History. It's a profitable use of one's time if only because he considers perspectives that are usually ignored.
 

Al Mackey

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The book really doesn't get into the Civil War. Zinn takes a decidedly nontraditional approach. He has a lot to say about slavery as a national sin, and he has a lot to say about continued oppression after the putative end of slavery. What little he does talk about the Civil War is focused on labor and how Northern whites were reluctant to fight for black folks.
 

O' Be Joyful

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As info:




Essay Howard Zinn vs. George Wood
934 WordsMay 6, 2015 4 Pages

What is Gordon S. Wood’s argument and what is Howard Zinn’s argument on the nature of the American War for Independence and what evidence do the two historians present to support their interpretations? Who do you think presents the better case?

https://www.bartleby.com/essay/Howard-Zinn-vs-George-Wood-PK3YBPJVC

I prefer Wood's position, overall. Zinn is just too far, ahh...out on a limb.
 

Matt McKeon

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Zinn taught at BU when I was there, although I never had him. He was cordially hated by the administration, but his classes were always full.
 

5fish

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I think we are leaving off this list.... The 5000 Year Leap : A Miracle That Changed the World(Paperback)

I have not read this book and most likely will not and I remember it being promoted on the radio by the writer years back: I think his premise is off... He is selling his messaged to conservative and Christians...
WE (the world last a 1000 years during the dark ages) I think the birth of America has recapture those lost 1000 years... and maybe made up some form the first dark age Late Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BCE). We have had two periods when mankind lost its way...

Here is its rational behind the book: From Amazon

In The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World, Discover the 28 Principles of Freedom our Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every people who desire peace, prosperity, and freedom. Learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5000 years. These 28 Principles include The Genius of Natural Law, Virtuous and Moral Leaders, Equal Rights--Not Equal Things, and Avoiding the Burden of Debt.

Review: From a reader
This left me in an awkward predicament when I read the stuff that was new to me. I just didn't feel like I could trust him.
All told, this is a good book if the reader approaches it with the realization that Skousen was not a historian examining the record and trying to learn lessons from it. He was by training a lawyer and, as such, I think he approached this book knowing the arguments he wanted to make and picking those points from the historical record which supported his argument and either trivializing or altogether ignoring anything that didn't.


Principle 1 - The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.
Principle 2 - A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.
Principle 3 - The most promising method of securing a virtuous people is to elect virtuous leaders.
Principle 4 - Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.
Principle 5 - All things were created by God, therefore upon him all mankind are equally dependent, and to him they are equally responsible .
Principle 6 - All mankind were created equal.
Principle 7 - The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things.
Principle 8 - Mankind are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights.
Principle 9 - To protect human rights, God has revealed a code of divine law.
Principle 10 - The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people.
Principle 11 - The majority of the people may alter or abolish a government which has become tyrannical.
Principle 12 - The United States of America shall be a republic.
Principle 13 - A Constitution should protect the people from the frailties of their rulers.
Principle 14 - Life and liberty are secure only so long as the rights of property are secure .
Principle 15 - The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations.
Principle 16 - The government should be separated into three branches .
Principle 17 - A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power by the different branches of government.
Principle 18 - The unalienable rights of the people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written Constitution.
Principle 19 - Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained by the people.
Principle 20 - Efficiency and dispatch require that the government operate according to the will of the majority, but constitutional provisions must be made to protect the rights of the minority.
Principle 21 - Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom.
Principle 22 - A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men.
Principle 23 - A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education.
Principle 24 - A free people will not survive unless they stay strong.
Principle 25 - "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations -- entangling alliances with none."- Thomas Jefferson, given in his first inaugural address.
Principle 26 - The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore the government should foster and protect its integrity.
Principle 27 - The burden of debt is as destructive to human freedom as subjugation by conquest.
Principle 28 - The United States has a manifest destiny to be an example and a blessing to the entire human race.

Here is a link that may clarify these principles but I will warn you. They trying to sell the book too... https://nccs.net/products/the-5000-year-leap-a-miracle-that-changed-the-world-book
 

5fish

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exceptionalism,
The 5000 leap is American exceptionalism on steroids... If you look through history every nation state that becomes the hegemon of it time thinks they are Exceptional, Graced by God(s), and have a Manifest Destiney. The Romans, British of the 19th century, America in the 20th century and you see signs in China as they enter the world stage.
 

Kirk's Raider's

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The book really doesn't get into the Civil War. Zinn takes a decidedly nontraditional approach. He has a lot to say about slavery as a national sin, and he has a lot to say about continued oppression after the putative end of slavery. What little he does talk about the Civil War is focused on labor and how Northern whites were reluctant to fight for black folks.
Not sure about Zinn's assertion that white Northeners not be willing to fight for people of color. Out of two million or so Union enlisted we can subtract approximately 170k USCT and 104k Unionist troops and a few thousand or so Indian troops and we still get somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.7 million Northern troops although many only enlisted in three or six month regiments.
Also the Union Army didn't really emphasize in their recruiting posters " help us liberate your black brothers" but more in the theme of preserving the Union plus the glory of war.
Kirk's Raider's
 

5fish

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I think Zinn wants to remind us of the injustices throughout our history. He points out the injustices in our modern world. Like, income inequality he even notice back in the 1990's...

One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth. The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another: small property owners against the property less, black against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and unskilled. These groups have resented one another and warred against one another with such vehemence and violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of leftovers in a very wealthy country.

I found this site has the book broken down by chapters. You can click on the chapter and read to you hearts content...

Link to the book: http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html

Western history has dominated the world for the last 500 years and it's about white men using by force, by coerced, by bribing and ect. their will on others. In this process making history...
 

rittmeister

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I think Zinn wants to remind us of the injustices throughout our history. He points out the injustices in our modern world. Like, income inequality he even notice back in the 1990's...
i heard of him but i never read anything he wrote - i just started in this one and let me just say that dude knows how to write
 
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