A People's History of American Empire

A People's History of American Empire

4.12 (2,121 ratings by Goodreads)
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Since its landmark publication in 1980, "A People's History Of The United States" has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies, become required classroom reading throughout the U.S.A., and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a successful book, "A People's History" triggered a revolution in the way history is told, displacing the official versions with their emphasis on great men in high places to chronicle events as they were lived, from the bottom up.Now Howard Zinn, historian Paul Buhle, and cartoonist Mike Konopacki have collaborated to retell, in vibrant comics form, a most immediate and relevant chapter of "A People's History": the centuries-long story of America's actions in the world. Narrated by Zinn, this version opens with the events of 9/11 and then jumps back to explore the cycles of U.S. expansionism from Wounded Knee to Iraq, stopping along the way at World War I, Central America, Vietnam, and the Iranian revolution. The book also follows the story of Zinn, the son of poor Jewish immigrants, from his childhood in the Brooklyn slums to his role as one of America's leading historians.Shifting from world-shattering events to one family's small revolutions, "A People's History of American Empire" presents the classic ground-level history of America in a dazzling new form.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 213.36 x 276.86 x 17.78mm | 635.03g
  • Henry Holt & Company Inc
  • Metropolitan Books (imprint of Henry Holt & Company)
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • S&s Hdcvr ed.
  • 256-288 black/white cartoons
  • 0805087443
  • 9780805087444
  • 119,396

About Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, author of numerous acclaimed histories, taught history at Spelman College and Boston University, and received the Lannan Literary Award, among many others. A People's History of the United States was a finalist for the 1981 National Book Award. Born in 1922, Zinn died in 2010.Mike Konopacki has collaborated on five collections of cartoons, and his work is regularly syndicated. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.Paul Buhle is a senior lecturer in history at Brown University and the editor of the Encyclopedia of the American Left, among other books. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.show more

Review quote

"At the heart of this wide-ranging comics indictment of American Empire are the terrific human stories of those who have resisted--including wonderful autobiographical episodes from author Howard Zinn's own courageous and inspiring life." --Joe Sacco, author of Safe Area Gorazde"Ingenious in its conception and brilliant in execution, this comics version of Howard Zinn's classic history breathes new life into the stories of people who never thought their stories would be told. It is urgently necessary for our times: read this book and see how to raise your voice against all the forces that would drown you out. A modern activist's primer!" --Ben Affleckshow more

Review Text

The unknown history and devastating impact of American imperial activities abroad.In this impressively ambitious, if scattered, new offering from Metropolitan's wide-ranging American Empire Project, left-wing historians Zinn (The Unraveling of the Bush Presidency, 2007, etc.) and Buhle (History/Brown Univ.; Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History, 2008, etc.) collaborate with graphic artist Konopacki on a graphic adaptation of key sections from Zinn's bestselling A People's History of the United States (1980). The book is imagined as a lecture on the ugly side of history, delivered by the lean, aging Zinn to a darkened auditorium, with each episode illustrated by Konopacki's almost childishly simple illustrations, sometimes crudely buttressed with grainy photographs. Occasionally, perky sidebars titled "ZINNformation" pop up to point readers to a modern analogy or an interesting bit of trivia. It's an effective technique for delivering this laundry list of despicable behavior, though at times the illustrations seem less than capable of truly rendering their subjects. After a prologue that describes the government's vengeful, knee-jerk reactions to 9/11 as "part of a continuing pattern of American behavior," the main narrative begins abruptly with the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890 and moves on to one head-shaking moment of infamy to another. Being that Zinn is most valuable for his insistence on shedding light on dark corners of American history, the book comes most alive when it is describing little-remembered episodes like the shameful American occupation of the Philippines in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War, cleverly enlisting Mark Twain's embittered, virtually unknown writings on the subject. The authors' thesis - that America's imperial war machine manufactures conflicts abroad to further its economic interests while stoking consumer demand and tamping down dissent at home - is not developed as fully as it should be, and current wars are strangely missing.An overly episodic but nonetheless powerful teaching tool for the next generation of anti-imperialist activists. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,121 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 42% (893)
4 37% (778)
3 15% (324)
2 4% (84)
1 2% (42)
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