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A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book of short essays frees Zinn from the strictures of conventional history writing. Of course, A People's History is anything but conventional in its approach, yet it stills follows a mostly chronological narrative of history. Here, Zinn's tone is much more engaging and personal. He talks about historical figures that inspire him--Eugene V. Debs and Phillip Berrigan, for example--and relates them to struggles going on today. He puts the Iraq War and the war on terror in context with other conflicts in our history, and he discusses his own war experiences in many of the essays. He also makes clear the role that the media and popular culture play in perpetuating myths of American exceptionalism and "good wars." Overall, though, one is inspired by Zinn's optimism and hope for the future, despite everything stacked against us. This is a brisk and compelling read. Zinn is a national treasure.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Zinn is usually well worth reading. His essays provide short clear opinions incorporating history well. History is not neutral, as he reminds us. Engaging his ideas should help sort out one's own more clearly whether close to his or not. You have to respect someone who is Jewish, a civil rights activist, a Bombardier during the war who has the intestinal fortitude to critique his own roots and experience.

The short essays range from World War II and the Holocaust Memorial to activism. None takes long to read, all are worth thinking about. Zinn remains something of an optimist despite our national malaise and dumbing down of debate today.

It is a pity that this and other valuable books are effectively `censored' out of circulation by the several national book store chains in Malls (Hurray for Amazon!) Thinking and debate suffer accordingly.

His "People's History of the United States" is a classic because of word of mouth reputation and can now be found widely. He edits a series that has been started including "Darker Peoples" focused on recent history of the "third world."
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Written by historian, playwright, and World War II veteran Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress is a scathing attack against America's political and ethical failings, using examples of atrocities America perpetuated in history - from massacres in Vietnam to abuses of Chinese immigrant labor workers to complicity in the genocide of East Timor and much more - to add context to current ills such as the extended toll of the war in Iraq. "There is no certainty as to what would happen in our absence [in Iraq]. But there is absolute certainty about the result of our presence - escalating deaths on all sides." Zinn is firmly anti-death penalty and decries its usage as well. Of especial interest in A Power Governments Cannot Suppress is the author's denouncement of a disturbing tendency to compartmentalize the Holocaust, to forget the millions of non-Jews that were executed along with 6 million Jews, and worse, neglect the occurrence of modern acts of genocide thereby betraying the memory of victims of the Holocaust genocide. A strident call to action, speaking out against governmental and human misdeeds, and vociferously encouraging the reader to stand up and take action..
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
If we don't know our history we are doomed to repeat it. In post 9/11 America, many have lost rights protected by the First Amendment. This is not a new feature in the United States. To prove his point Zinn takes the reader on a journey through moments in American history when people with opposing views suffered because of those views. He shines his unique light on important issues from the past and issues of importance now, such as the Iraq war. Zinn is appreciated for putting his words into print and challenging us all to create new ways to move towards a more just and peaceful world.
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Howard Zinn Professor Emeritus of Political Science, along with Noam Chomsky, are the two best political / historical writers on the Americian scene today. For a true picture of what American is really all about you could not find a better author than Professor Zinn. Mr. Zinn is an author of uncommon wisdom, insight and understanding.His thoughts on President Bush are alone worth the price of this gem. Highly Recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Earlier today I reviewed The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America by Peter Dale Scott, and coined a new term of praise, "erudite patriot." That was one of many reviews from my long recent trip to the Middle East that I could finally post.

I would never have anticipated that in reading this book today, I would not only encounter a second "erudite patriot," but that my somewhat anxious decision to directly and repeatedly focus public attention on the high crimes and misdemeanors of Dick Cheney, would be so elegantly validated with a firm grounding in public resistance to tyranny and amorality.

The author, an eminent historian, is the people's historian. He alone has documented the many times in which public resistance brought odious government programs to a stop.

Although a collection of past essays, this book actually reads fast and well as a survey of the fundamentals empowered by historical example and accuracy. I was strongly reaffirmed in my beliefs by this book, reinforced in my relatively recent commitment to bringing Cheney to justice.

The author, unique qualified to do so, informs us that people have resisted before, that the osmosis of truth ultimate swings the public, and as the book title suggests, no government can resist an aroused public.

The author suggests, and I agree, that impeachment of Cheney first, is essential. Our government has lost all legitimacy in my eyes, and I would resist arrest by this goveernment to the death of them or I, after first attempting to persuade the good-hearted people sent to arrest me that they should disobey the illegal order to arrest me, and live to see their families that night.

Every single essay in this book is moving, intelligent, cogent, and relevant to the greatest crisis our Republic has ever faced. The author's review of our greatest betrayal, of the wounded from Gulf I and Gulf II (he does not mention that unlike Gulf I, Gulf II produced 16 instead of 6 wounded for every death, and we have 75,000 amputees across the land, lives shatted by Dick Cheney's lies, by Paul Wolfowitz's lies, by Donald Rumsfeld's idiocy and arrogance).

The author is compelling in stating that war is the enemy, and one is reminded of the outcome of War Games: the only winning strategy is not to play at war for profit or any other reason.

The author is compelling in cataloging the litany of lies by our Presidents, and the manner in which our Founding Fathers designed the government to protect the rich and enslave the poor.

The author is compelling in pointing out that we must all question authority, and that the one thing we should all recognize now is that we can unite and be invincible, non-violently invincible, in demanding dignity, justice, and liberty for all--not just all Americans, but every person on the planet and especially those repressed by the 44 dictators, 42 of whom are Bush-Cheney "allies."

The author is compelling in damning the hypocrisy of this Administration, and I will tell everyone for a fact that below the White House level, most political appointees are shocked, scared, scared, angry, and hopeful that America will impeach the idiot-in-chief and the thief-in-chief. I am an estranged moderate Republican, and I never, ever, imagined that the Republican Party would become the runner up to global crimes so grotesque and extensive that only Hitler and his genocide against the Jews rate above it.

The author is compelling in calling for new new ways, for waging peace instead of war, for undertaking a general strike (I even thought the time has come to make all our tax payments to an escrow account instead of to the existing hijacked government).

I stand with the author in commiting to non-violent opposition to this totalitarian and amoral White House. Non-violence works. All that We the People need to do is withdraw our obedience. I really like the idea of a general strike, and I respectfully suggest to one and all that if America attacks Iran with Israel, that is the day when we should all go on indefinite general strike, and not return to work, nor pay taxes, until all US forces are withdrawn from the Middle East.

Under existing law & regulations, the above statement could be interpreted by Bush-Cheney as giving comfort to the enemey, and I could be arrested and all my property confiscated. That is how low this Republic has gone.

I must say, Howard Zinn's brilliance and integrity have bathed me with a warm glow of confidence in We the People. I feel protected, reinforced, encouraged, renewed, heartened by his wisdom. With such great minds as his speaking out, I am confident We the People will prevail.

You must, absolutely, buy this this book, read it, and recommend it to others. Other books that I have reviewed and recommend:

The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Zinn recalls the many activists and movements that have brought about real change -- lessons in genuine democracy that we must not forget and that can give us hope. This is what history can teach us and what must be the focus of our attention, not the feel-good "everything is great about the US" perspective from mainstream commentary. The message that democracy lies in the hands of the people, not in government, is one that citizens have discovered again and again, as Zinn so beautifully reminds us in this important book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I love every book written by Howard Zinn that I've read so far(5, maybe 6, I can't remember). His perspective is one that we should all try to live by because ultimately it's the only way for the planet and its occupants to survive. He also gives hope to Americans in certainly the darkest period I've ever lived through...and I think hope is a good thing, a necessary thing in order to face the challenges that we have today.

This book is excellent because it documents and explains historical situations, past and present, so eloquently and yet so simply that a child could read it and understand what he's talking about even if the larger concepts are too complex. It is inspiring because it demonstrates how any one of us can make a difference. I highly recommend this book in particular because Americans need to understand that they are, through their own apathy and reluctance to become active, responsible for what is going on but that they can effect change through the slightest of actions. It is an easy read because it's a series of previously published articles but they are all relevant to what is going on today and they all require reflection.

Highly, highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you think you know American history, read this book and any other book you can get by Howard Zinn...he's easy to read, not ponderous like some intellectuals..yet he clearly states his points of view using documented events not theories...clearly I'm a big fan of Howard Zinn..won't you join me?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great essays. Zinn gives a unique point of view we can all learn from. Sometime I wish he was a bit more positive because his message is that well intentioned individuals can make a difference, and that message is positive and powerful.

I'd love to see Mr Zinn on CNN and the other cable news shows!
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