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The People Speak: A Performance Piece [Kindle Edition]

Howard Zinn
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $6.99
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
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Book Description

To celebrate the millionth copy sold of Howard Zinn's great People's History of the United States, Zinn drew on the words of Americans -- some famous, some little known -- across the range of American history. These words were read by a remarkable cast at an event held at the 92nd Street YMHA in New York City that included James Earl Jones, Alice Walker, Jeff Zinn, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfre Woodard, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover, Myla Pitt, Harris Yulin, and Andre Gregory.

From that celebration, this book was born. Collected here under one cover is a brief history of America told through dramatic readings applauding the enduring spirit of dissent.

Here in their own words, and interwoven with commentary by Zinn, are Columbus on the Arawaks; Plough Jogger, a farmer and participant in Shays' Rebellion; Harriet Hanson, a Lowell mill worker; Frederick Douglass; Mark Twain; Mother Jones; Emma Goldman; Helen Keller; Eugene V. Debs; Langston Hughes; Genova Johnson Dollinger on a sit-down strike at General Motors in Flint, Michigan; an interrogation from a 1953 HUAC hearing; Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper and member of the Freedom Democratic Party; Malcolm X; and James Lawrence Harrington, a Gulf War resister, among others.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, playwright, and social activist. His many books include A People's History of the United States, which has sold more than two million copies.

Product Details

  • File Size: 118 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000W5MICQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,171 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howard Zinn - a true American November 9, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting book, the variety of people is wonderful and well thought out. It takes someone special to look at their own country and not shy away from painful parts of our history. The only way to move forward is to learn from the real past not the rosy schoolbook history that been sanitized.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like you are there July 8, 2009
By M.A.
Format:Audio CD
I was struck by how much I like these performances. Most of the readers do such a good job dramatizing speeches, letters and experts. It really is as if you are there listening to the original speaker and can't help but laugh, cheer, get angry, and sad.

Amazon lists this as both abridged and unabridged. On the back of the disc says unabridged. But you must know that only excerpts are performed. So don't think that you are going to hear a dramatization of the entire "Grassroots" speech by Malcolm X.

Get the book "The People Speak" too for when you want to read along and listen at the same time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great American Voices Immortalized February 15, 2012
How could one not love a man such as the late Howard Zinn, who chose his words carefully, spoke smoothly and eloquently, and always, regardless of time or space, strove to make the world a better place?

In this book, which showcases great American activists such as Mother Jones, Malcolm X, and Hellen Keller, Zinn takes a backstage role, introducing each speaker, then letting them do the talking, always in the name of the oppressed, always questioning the motives of the oppressor.

In this book we learn that Helen Keller was not only a woman who overcame incredible odds to become a gifted communicator, but a staunch critic of war and imperial agendas. We learn from Samuel Clemens that Teddy Roosevelt was a war-monger (aren't they all?), firing off a letter of commendation to a military strategist after he slaughtered 600 mostly defenseless Philippine men, women and children. We are treated to great poetry from Chicana activist Maria Herrera Sobek, and the late, great black poet Langston Hughes. But the chapters devoted to John Brown, Frederick Douglass, and Eugene Debs really send a shiver up the spine.

Eugene Debs said: "While there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free." He then added that he could "have been in congress long ago, but that (he) preferred to go to prison."

This book is a treasure trove of voices, "some famous, some little known."

Five stars. Check it out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ~ basic freedom and dignity ~ June 8, 2008
By Alex
Format:Audio Cassette
The Frederick Douglass speech read by James Earl Jones alone is worth the purchase. The People Speak is a great collection of speeches and words (read by others) of the men and woman throughout our history who fought for basic freedom and dignity. An inspired record of community and the power of remembering our past.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ballsy writer but good and in your face December 1, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The People Speak was a gift after seeing it in film. Any time a writer professes to the people their view in a soap-box style of speaking or getting attention has room for critics and different view points. This points the fundamentals and gets everyone in their face to consider what is going on around them they may seem to not notice they are not noticing...slavery, tax markets slashing etc and he tells you how it is breaking down borders and meanings to all walks of life...very good read...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great content, poor index March 28, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The content and performances are excellent. Unfortunately, the index just gives names, and not the dates or incidents that these speeches or documents were created for. "Voices of a People's History of the US" has an index that gives all of that information.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are Americans Learning from Their Past? April 15, 2009
By Nate
A short, quick, poignant read written by people from across the span of American history - though reads like something written yesterday. Are American's learning anything from our past?
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