It begins with his 1956 acceptance of a teaching post at Atlanta's Spelman College, a school for black women that would soon be caught up in the civil rights movement. Zinn, who had already been radicalized on the streets of Brooklyn as a teenager, got caught up along with his students (who included the future head of the Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, and author Alice Walker), and was kicked out in 1963 for "insubordination." He moved to Boston University, where he became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, and would prove a constant thorn in the side of university president John Silber throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Zinn writes in plain language that brooks no nonsense when it speaks of moral urgency, but he isn't above a sense of humor. Noting that the FBI was watching him constantly during the war era, he wryly observes that, "I have grown to depend on them for accurate reports on my speeches." Individual scenes leap out at the reader: Zinn's horror when he realized, years after WWII, that he had dropped napalm bombs on German troops; a meeting in a college classroom with the sister and parents of one of the victims of the Kent State massacre; Selma, Alabama, police beating blacks attempting to register to vote while federal agents stand by and do nothing. Through it all, Zinn writes, "I see this as the central issue of our time: how to find a substitute for war in human ingenuity, imagination, courage, sacrifice, patience." --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
All in all, this is a very interesting, moving book.
I feel like I better understand the man behind the books, and now I will go back and read A People's History and Declarations of Independence again.
Part of what I enjoyed was that the history is connected in a personal way to Zinn and his life, which provided an added richness.
I give Howard Zinn 10 stars for this wonderful work of art capturing that enduring spirit of his and relating it to his fight for human rights, especially african-american rights... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Edward Bernstein
I didn't realize this was a auto-biography & I didn't really want that. Good condition though, no bad damage. Kind of boring of a bookPublished 9 months ago by Michael Hanus
I loved his honest declaration that this is history from his perspective and his eternal positivity and belief in the ability of humans to change for the better make that... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Zack McCracken
I love Howard Zinn and his real accounts of history he makes you think about reality and how history lies about peoplePublished 13 months ago by GLORIA
Zinn truly did have a front row seat to history that he embraced. Zinn continues to focus on the individual and small acts that build to a crescendo of action. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sam Motes
The author does a magnificent job of transposing his personal experiences over the larger topic of social movements in the late 20th century. A truly interesting read.Published 14 months ago by Todd Hemelstrand
I only wish that I had the opportunity to meet or learn from Mr Howard Zinn. The world needs more people like him. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Elaineb