Featuring rare archival materials and interviews with Zinn and colleagues such as Noam Chomsky, You Can't Be Neutral captures the essence of this extraordinary man who has been a catalyst for progressive change for more than 60 years.Narrated by Matt Damon and featuring music by Pearl Jam, Woody Guthrie & Billy Bragg!
Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral On a Moving Train -- Special Commemorative Edition
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The film follows Zinn from his experiences as a bomber pilot in WWII, through the birth of modern American activism in Atlanta (where he was fired from Spelman College for encouraging students in non-violent activism), through the Vietnam war, and up to his current activities and ideas. It also contains a very nice section about his book "The People's History of the United States," which looks at American history from the point of view of the victims. AND, it is the only mention I have ever seen in film or television of the tragic Ludlow, Colorado massacre of the strikers by those staunch defenders of American democracy: the Pinkertons. That's right, the mine owners brought in their own private army of Pinkertons who burned the strikers' tent city in the middle of a Colorado winter and then shot the survivors.
This film reminds us of what moral indignation is all about and the importance of taking a stand against tyranny in all its forms. Bill O'Reilly will, of course, disagree.
Whether or not you agree with Dr. Zinn's politics, it cannot be denied (especially after watching this documentary) that his motives are genuine. Dr. Zinn is really fighting for a better and truer form of what he defines as justice. It may be easy to disagree with him (I certainly do not agree with all his ideas or actions), this documentary makes it impossible to disagree that he is a man who really cares about what he is fighting for.
The documentary begins with his meager upbringing and discusses that although as a shipbuilder he could have received a deferment from fighting in World War II, he enlisted believing that fighting facism in Europe was the right thing to do. However, some of the things he was called upon to do as a pilot forced him to ponder on what means can and should be used to achieve a just end. The documentary then depicts the start of his activism as a white teacher in a black college in Atlanta during the early days of the racial movement in the South. The documentary covers his life from those early days throughout his career.
Although the documentary is not what you could call balanced in that none of Dr. Zinn's opponents are interviewed, I do not find that as a fault. I do not think the purpose of this documentary was to be a completely balanced protrayal leaving it up to the viewer to make his or her own decision about Dr.Read more ›
resists the perception management efforts that make war easy. Instead, he's been a tireless advocate for the causes of peace and justice. He's been at the war protests, stood in the picket lines, lectured/written tirelessly, and he's supported groups like "Emergency" that sends doctors into war zones to try to stitch together the bodies torn apart by the "wanton destruction" of Western so-called Civilization.
Zinn himself has directly participated in that destruction. As a World War II bombadeer, he was part of a raid that pioneered the use of napalm. It was an act for which many would have sought some psychologically comforting justification. Zinn instead chose to be honest about the inexcusable barbarity of burning civilians alive, and dedicated himself to resisting the efforts of our warlords. One of his many insights that undercut the narratives of our military establishment is this bit of good news that appears towards the end of the film, Zinn is quoted as saying, "To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You Can't Be Neutral is one of the most compelling look at the late Howard Zinn's works. As I my worldview has evolved over the years, I have come to appreciate Dr. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Baroness of Topaz
Excellent book, it gives you insight into Howard Zinn's life and shows you exactly what he stood for, what a great man!Published 20 months ago by JoAnn Perkins
This is an important movie, about an underrated man. I have bought copies of his books for several people, and this is my go-to movie when become fatigued and disillusioned. Read morePublished on July 1, 2014 by Romy Carver
Today, I bought A People's History of the United States by Zinn on Amazon (Kindle) for $2.49. I started reading it, and I didn't want to put it down. Read morePublished on June 28, 2014 by Franciska
This DVD contains a 78 minute documentary on Howard Zinn, union organizer, anti-war activist, college professor and author of A People's History of the United States narrated by... Read morePublished on March 2, 2013 by Zarathustra
Zinn was without a doubt one of the most amazing historians of the 20th Century. Zinn's body of knowledge when it comes to history makes Chomsky look like he can't remember... Read morePublished on February 24, 2013 by psychoinhell