Arens is a biological anthropologist and he wrote this book to attack racist narratives that prevailed in anthropology at the time. ISBN. For all my life, I had been blatantly lied to. Log In Sign Up. Viet Nam, Anglo-Norman History | History of Knighthood. I would much rather see Zinn at least contrasted with other historians who offer more conservative views of history, or perhaps read in a study of historiography. Columbus , The Indians, and Human Progress 2. Answered Questions (8) I'm planning to read this book in order to understand its what its influence has been and with the many critiques of its subjectivity in mind. But I would submit that, like Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, it is not a good recommendation for a beginning reader, as like the former there are some very wonky ideas contained within it that are not in line with current scholarship. Zinn, in every writing of his I've encountered, has come off as being sure his reading of history is absolutely right, and he seems overly dismissive of other views. I also rather enjoy this review from Georgetown professor Michael Kazin. Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States 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. In high school history, they do spend some time covering The Trail of Tears, Slavery, and the Evils of the Jim Crow era, but its always done so in this theatric rendition of 'America' triumphing over intolerance. Well: After a remark about inter-religious motives for urban violence in the 1840s, "religious" only appears 5 more times in the book- that's 412 pages of my PDF version. No, it doesn’t. Press J to jump to the feed. J.P. Morgan, and Rockefeller, were savvy, revolutionary business men-even though they reduced half of the population to slave-like conditions in order to achieve their 'maximum profits'. But you need the base first. He is more concerned with telling the right or true history than with understanding the motivations, goals, and strategies of past peoples (a common fault of these types of "textbook alternatives". He covers more of the late 19th and early 20th century labors issues than many popular authors or school textbooks, and the resulting discussions of class are necessary, if not well supported by history. This is easily explained by Zinn's historical perspective, but not excused. I just would urge any reader to evaluate each situation Zinn is discussing in the light of his evidence. This P.S. This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. It's particularly important in American schools since the high school curriculum is so patriotically whitewashed. One of the book’s more high-profile endorsements came in the 1997 Academy Award-winning film Good Will Hunting. He goes to great lengths to tear down certain types of narratives that erased the ethical and moral aspects of history. Persons of Mean and Vile Condition 4. In less then two years of brutal enslavement, rape, torture, and pillaging, Columbus and his followers massacred the native Haitian population, setting the seeds for the America we know today. I also found that he seems to focus so intently on a few issues that I often felt he missed the larger context, and therefore cannot be read alone. Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. Ya. More posts from the AskHistorians community. However, the book is extremely important because of what it did to the field: it forced anthropologists to look more closely at how they understand evidence and how their own beliefs affected the narratives they constructed. It's an old book so a lot of you have probably read it already, but if you haven't, I highly recommend it. He can bring up sources to say that most anything happened, but he rarely does the legwork to prove that it's typical. I vaguely remember some controversy surrounding a history book that exposed the darker side of American History, and whether or not it belonged next to traditional history text in schools. Mostly anecdotal issues. As a historian who has done some looking into his primary source material he is often guilty of cherry picking or ignoring the full context of a situation. Stanford argues pretty heavily against him. He wrote that book to attack some of the popular historiography or historical viewpoints of the time, and how Americans are taught their own history. I've only just started and I can't believe how much I was misled/lied to in school. China & Taiwan | Mod. If they're going to read one book about American history and never touch the subject again, it would be better to go with a more recent and balanced work, like Lepore's. In A People’s History of the United States, Zinn aims to write an account of American history from the perspective of persecuted, powerless, marginalized people, rather than the usual pantheon of heroes and elites. The A People’s History of the United States quotes below are all either spoken by Socialism or refer to Socialism. 5 4 45. I believe Zinn was of the opinion that everyone had a bias, and therefore writers shouldn't attempt to write without bias, and readers should make sure to read both sides of any topic. I mean, all human beings are biased and historians are no exception to that. Those politics include goals which most historians would agree with: textbooks are generally too nationalist, they focus too much on elites, concerns of class and race are under-represented. A people's history of the United States. A People's History of the United States is a 1980 nonfiction book by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn.In the book, Zinn presented what he considered to be a different side of history from the more traditional "fundamental nationalist glorification of country". Drawing the Color Line 3. Welcome to r/AskHistorians. Second, we are sure that once you new people begin reading it, you'll go out and get a physical copy. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. So I feel like I want to defend Zinn a bit here. (killed/captured/wounded). My APUS class had it and I think we read around 150 pages of it. You have to prove that that topic can stand on its own, and Zinn does not. One of the most eye opening experiences I've ever had, came about while reading the first chapter of 'A People's History of the United States.' It is our intent and purpose to foster and encourage in-depth discussion about all things related to books, authors, genres, or publishing in a safe, supportive environment. America has done some fucked up shit in the past, and in various forms, it still is today. Bad history, it turns out, transcends political divides. But Zinn does nothing with this most fundamental force in American history, as he does with anything else that would force him to confront that the American people were racist, nationalistic capitalists far more often than he wants to admit. I have an anthropology background too, and I find Zinn’s book to be similar in purpose to the book The Man-Eating Myth by W. Arens. TL;DR Zinn leaves out a lot of history and voices, dismissing views he doesn't agree with as deception by elites and rarely justifying why he's left out what he has. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns. However, being a scholar of the Philippines has put me in a position of studying the relationship between the US and the Philippines, so I know quite a bit at least about foreign policy by the US as it pertains to Asia, historically. We can talk all day about Zinn's "bias," though I don't think it will get us anywhere. In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. Rather than demonstrate the diversity and ingenuity of the American populace, Zinn supplies anecdotes... and more anecdotes. Hundreds of famous people have listed A People’s History of the United States as one of their favorite books. In addition to RemindMeBot, consider using our Browser Extension, or getting the Weekly Roundup. I'm also not certain how much it deserves credit for opposing the historiography of its era, which is a different beast entirely from secondary school textbooks and instruction. However, that is based solely off of the handful of chapters from 'A People's History...' and interviews with him I was required to read in high school. Historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools--with its emphasis on great men in high places--to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace. It's hard enough to get through a traditional text like Foner in a school year. He did not welcome the Americas into the 'European enlightenment'. A People’s History is bad history, albeit gilded with virtuous intentions. After reading this book, the current, strange state of western society made a lot more sense to me. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: ). Historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace. I’m not going to act like I am a scholar of American history. It's one thing to write in this style, it's another to dismiss critics and biases en masse. Could you suggest by any chance a recent book on racist concepts in biological anthropology? Did people think the US should be a monarchy? There are problems with it, to be sure, but it’s less about “is this as objective as possible?” and more about “this is trying to reject bad trends in history”. Each book has a different take, so you get a very complete and holistic view. You have to take into account Zinn's bias (which he himself openly acknowledges). I was about to buy this book, but then I read some stuff about how Zinn is extremely biased in his coverage of American history. Additional time is better spent on primary sources and selected readings most likely, which could include Zinn. This P.S. I have read Jill Lepore’s book and I think it’s quite excellent, by the way. Racism in particular is either presented as a political tool or like a weather forecast: "Racism was strong" or "It was a time of intense racism in the United States." a people's history of the united states by Howard Zinn ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 1, 1979 For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. That's a bad take though, because it's not representative. ...and it feels a bit too impassioned for me. If you're looking for help with a personal book recommendation, consult our Weekly Recommendation Thread, Suggested Reading page, or ask in r/suggestmeabook. Zinn assumes the reader knows the typical narrative and aims to fill in the gaps. This is a moderated subreddit. It is a nice narrative view of history but students need context for that narrative. Like, does Zinn just straight up convey blatantly false or misleading information? Kazin also criticizes Zinn for leaving out religion. I believe that knowing the ladder alone, is reducing our society to sheep. Only way to do it imo. From reading 'A peoples history,' I gained an objective stance on the history of America, instead of that idealized, fictitious narrative regurgitated in every high school history class. But just nine votes behind was the late Howard Zinn's left-wing epic, A People's History of the United States. This may be a People's History, but those people are constantly being duped and defrauded to the extent that you have to wonder if Zinn thinks much of them at all: Zinn’s big book is quite unworthy of such fame and influence. We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God 9. Cultural history is largely absent: religion is ignored, film is only mentioned as anti-Communist propaganda, and music is only ever the product of New Deal investment in the arts, African spirituals, or protest songs. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn is a 2005 Harper Perennial Modern Classics publication. Posted by u/[deleted] 6 years ago. All recounting of history is going to have some degree of bias. The result is a book that mentions "war" at least 970 times and whose focus on the wars, business, and politics of American history make it feel a lot closer to standard curriculum material than it would like to admit. In the meantime our Twitter, Facebook, and Sunday Digest feature excellent content that has already been written! To borrow from another critique, this is because Zinn operates with "yes-type questions: "according to historian Aileen S. Kraditor, yes-type questions send the historian into the past armed with a wish list [...] 'If one historian asks, "Do the sources provide evidence of militant struggles among workers and slaves?" comments; Want to join? Does Arens’ book still hold up completely today in terms of his data? Kazin is genuinely frustrated with the way Zinn dismisses the motivations of those he disagrees with, attributing nearly everything to manipulation and deception. A People's History of the United States: | | A People's History of the United States | | | ... World Heritage Encyclopedia, the aggregation of the largest online encyclopedias available, and the most definitive collection ever assembled. You can tell these stories without religion, but they don't make much sense without them. You should go and get it (and ones for your friends and family). By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. I would strongly recommend it. Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States 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. NOTE: Is this is a better question for ? They have no iron. It really was the ego element. Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. The authors bring history to life by encouraging you to imagine what life was really like in the past. This is the metric by which Zinn's history fails. I prefer my history dry and … Press J to jump to the feed. Also a fair amount of Bury My Heart. A People’s History is bad history, albeit gilded with virtuous intentions. In fact, the word "Christian" only appears 16 times in all 622 pages; "Catholic" only 19, "Methodist" and "Baptist" only twice, "evangelical" only once. Most older history books will say the number is around 620,000 but recently it is suspected to be more like... 1.1 million 850,000, The North having around 600,000. The arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 started the European colonization of the Americas.Most colonies were formed after 1600, and the early records and writings of John Winthrop make the United States … I feel similar for Zinn. ...has anyone else pointed out that this figure is off by an order of magnitude or so? Christopher Columbus was not a hero. His writing does not seem to in any way contribute to meaningful discussion because he dismisses those with differing interpretations as either maliciously conservative or hopelessly uniformed. Every day the amount of people learning that the “united states of America,” the representative Republic that it was, died when the Southern States abandoned Congress forever in 1861, is increasing. I think that's a pretty spot-on analysis. Zinn is honest and direct about his politics to the extent that treating it as "bias" seems inappropriate. That's why it's been regarded as a college text. Zinn reduces the past to a Manichean fable and makes no serious attempt to address the biggest question a leftist can ask about U.S. history: why have most Americans accepted the legitimacy of the capitalist republic in which they live? I agree that Zinn's points should be included in any U.S. history discussion, but I don't think Zinn himself should be assigned, or at least not the whole book. Yes, and I can provide plenty of primary sources to prove it. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/december/wineburg-historiography-zinn-122012.html. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. The prehistory of the United States comprises the occurrences within regions now part of the United States of America during the interval of time spanning from the formation of the Earth to the documentation of local history in written form.At the start of the Paleozoic era, what is now "North" America was actually in the southern hemisphere. Not only is it off by an order of magnitude, it also grossly misrepresents the reasons behind the US Civil War, unless slavery and whether states have the right to secede is "economic reasons". While theories like Historical Materialism aren't interested in religion- it's the "opiate of the masses" after all- they do not ignore it. The Intimately Oppressed 7. A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 1492—PRESENT HOWARD ZINN. What does that look like? Basically, I think Zinn makes some extremely important points, and his differing view can provide an important counterpoint to many of the history texts commonly used, but he comes across in such a way that makes him very frustrating to read. Index 1. the sources will reply "Certainly." Is the level of bias "A People's History of the United States" worse than your typical history book? The tragedy however, is that it 's an important book, the,! 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