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A Young People's History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror (For Young People Series) Hardcover – June 2, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for A People's History of the United States: "Zinn has written a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those who have been exploited...the book is an excellent antidote to establishment history....While the book is precise enough to please specialists, it should satisfy any adult reader."--Library Journal

“In many years of searching, we have not found one history book we would recommend to them—until [the] just published A Young People's History of the United States. This is the edition of A People's History that we have all been waiting for.”—Deborah Menkart, executive director, Teaching for Change


“Zinn’s work exemplifies an approach to history that is radical, regardless of its subject or geographical location. He tells us the untold story, the story of the world’s poor, the world’s workers, the world’s homeless, the world’s oppressed, the people who don’t really qualify as real people in official histories. Howard Zinn painstakingly unearths the details that the powerful seek to airbrush away. He brings official secrets and forgotten histories out into the light, and in doing so, changes the official narrative that the powerful have constructed for us. He strips the grinning mask off the myth of the benign American Empire.To not read Howard Zinn, is to do a disservice to yourself.”— Arundhati Roy




--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

The visionary historical work of professor and activist HOWARD ZINN (1922–2010) is widely considered one of the most important and influential of our era. After his experience as a bombardier in World War II, Zinn became convinced that there could no longer be such a thing as a “just war,” because the vast majority of victims in modern warfare are, increasingly, innocent civilians. In his books, including A People’s History of the United States, its companion volumeVoices of a People’s History of the United States, and countless other titles, Zinn affirms the power of the people to influence the course of events.

REBECCA STEFOFF is the author of more than 100 nonfiction books for children and young adults, and she has adapted several best-selling history books for younger readers.
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Product Details

  • Series: For Young People Series
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Triangle Square; 1 edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583228861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583228869
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just in case anyone wants to use this in a social studies class, it's really probably the most appropriate for grades 6-8 or 9. It's too basic for my 11th grade US History class, although I did use it for some short information over the Great Depression. If you used it in conjunction with the primary sources from "Voices" it might work for older grades.
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By EH on March 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Howard Zinn has masterfully created a "story" flow that is kid-friendly and super interesting.

As an African American mom with a 10 year old son, I am thrilled that THIS American history book is one that my 4th grade son cannot put down!
There are just the right amount of illustrations, text and white space on each page that makes it a turn page turner. I have read the "adult" version of this book--A People's History of the United States and find that both of us can now converse about American history in a way that we see OURSELVES (and ancestors) in a more thoughtful & honest manner.

MY SON LOVES THIS BOOK--its made him enthusiastic about history! (And me too.)
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Format: Paperback
Author Howard Zinn is a World War II veteran known for his passionate belief that "just war" is impossible because civilians ultimately suffer the most. A Young People's History of the United States is Zinn's compendium offering young people a different point of view on history - from the young laborers who stood up for their rights with the National Child Labor Committee's Declaration of Dependence, to John Tinker, a high school student who took his case for free speech all the way to the Supreme Court and won, to Anyokah, a child who assisted in bringing written language to her Cherokee people. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, A Young People's History of the United States delivers an empowering message about the American principle of standing up for what's right, even if it makes one a dissident voice in the crowd. A Young People's History of the United States makes oft-overlooked sides of history come alive with direct relevance for young people, and is highly recommended as a supplement for school libraries.
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Format: Paperback
I have read the original "People's History" and am about to order this version for my 12-year-old son to read. In reading the various reviews here I felt compelled to comment, although my experiences stem from the original title.

I find the review about the author's "mean spirited view of America" to be the most entertaining, and how we "should not teach young people such a negative view of America." Or the other reviews with comments about "snarling at references to Washington and Lincoln," and "George Washington being a capitalist elitist who was fighting to keep the poor down thru the formation of a faux- republic government..." Really shows how we Americans love to believe what we like to believe, and especially tend to believe what we are taught by our teachers in school, and by this mighty government that leads us- and deceives us. Come on people; try thinking for yourselves for once- what's the worst that could happen? Still other reviewers call it 'leftist crap;' so entertaining, and somewhat depressing, too, to realize how close-minded so many people are to anything but their own version of the truth. What one reviewer refers to as Zinn's opinions... I cannot even begin to guess at what he thinks he is referring to. There are for the most part nothing but plain and substantiated facts (with listed sources) laid out in this, and in the full version of "People's History," so it is quite hard to believe that someone could make so ignorant a comment. But then it's also hard to believe what many people will do to hide from the truth in their own lives right here in present day as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As this book explains at the beginning, most history books, especially textbooks, look at history from the point of view of power – kings and presidents, scientists and writers and other noteworthy names. Therefore, much of this history is about the struggle over power – wars, coups, electioneering and other means of transferring power, whether peacefully or violently. Most of these books make claims to “objectivity” without acknowledging that in fact, they are all, of necessity, biased. Writing history is a matter of what gets written and what gets left out. Who gets to tell the story and who is silenced.

Howard Zinn’s THE PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, on the other hand, has no pretensions about “objectivity. Zinn states up front that he is writing the history we don’t learn in school or read in the newspapers. He is telling the history of the people who have been affected by power and the struggle for power. In the Friedman/Thatcher/Reagan vision of “trickle-down economics”, Zinn is concerned about those getting trickled on and, more importantly, what those people have done and are doing about it. The original, adult version of this book is over seven hundred pages long. Zinn, along with co-writer Rebecca Stefoff, wanted to bring a more accessible version of the book to younger audiences, hence, THE YOUNG PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, which is roughly two-thirds as long with significantly less writing per page.

The young people’s version pretty much follows the adult version of the book, starting with debunking the myth of Columbus and continuing until about the date of publication, including information on the September 11 attacks, the war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.
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