THE POLITICS OF HISTORY
University of Illinois Press (2nd ed.,1990)
Paper • ISBN-13: 9780252061226 • US $25.00 • 408 pgs.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
This paperback bestseller presents a series of case studies and thought-provoking essays arguing for a radical approach to history and providing a revisionist interpretation of the historian’s role. In a new introduction written for this edition, Howard Zinn responds to critics of the 1970 edition and comments further on the radicalization of history.
“The meaning of the sixties in intellectual, political and cultural life is very much debated today…. If you want to know how the civil rights movement and the peace movement affected the writing of American history, and indeed the history of the profession itself, Zinn’s collection is still the best thing to read.”
James R. Green, University of Massachusetts at Boston
“At least for appearance’s sake traditional historians have worn that balanced judgment they can ‘no more discard than their pants.’ Lodging a sharp critique of these erect professionals with humor and grace, Zinn shows that they clothe themselves in this spurious neutrality and in comparable bamboozlements—disinterested scholarship, objective study, dispassionate learning, among them; to cover the simple truth that history is contested terrain in which they are not innocent bystanders. A powerful debamboozler, The Politics of History is a no less powerful call to us all to remember ‘forgotten visions, lost utopias, unfulfilled dreams.’”
Richard Drinnon, Bucknell University
“Reissuing The Politics of History is a splendid idea. The issues Zinn deals with are as relevant today as when the book was first published.”
Marilyn B. Young, New York University
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Howard Zinn (1922–2010) was a historian, playwright, and activist. He wrote the classic A People’s History of the United States, “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those … whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories” (Library Journal). The book, which has sold more than 2.6 million copies and been translated into 23 foreign editions, has become a cultural touchstone, encouraging interest in “people’s histories” in universities and activist meetings alike. In 2009, History aired The People Speak, an acclaimed documentary co-directed by Zinn, based on A People’s History and a companion volume, Voices of a People’s History of the United States. As Noam Chomsky wrote, “Howard Zinn’s work literally changed the conscience of a generation.”
Zinn grew up in a working-class, immigrant household in Brooklyn. At eighteen, he became a shipyard worker and flew bomber missions over Europe during World War II, experiences which helped to shape his opposition to war and his interest in the lives of working people. After attending college under the GI Bill and earning a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, he taught at Spelman College, a historically black women’s college, where he became active in the civil rights movement. After being fired by Spelman for his support for student protesters, Zinn became a professor of Political Science at Boston University, where he taught until his retirement in 1988. He wrote more than forty books.
OTHER TITLES BY THIS AUTHOR:
A People’s History of the United States: Abridged Teaching Edition (with Kathy Emery and Ellen Reeves)
A People’s History of the United States: The Wall Charts (with George Kirschner)
Howard Zinn On Democratic Education (with Donaldo Macedo)
Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches, 1963–2009 (ed. Anthony Arnove)
Indispensable Zinn: The Essential Writings of the “People’s Historian” (ed. Timothy Patrick McCarthy)
Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics (with David Barsamian)
Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor’s Last Century (with Dana Frank and Robin D. G. Kelley)
Uncommon Sense: From the Writings of Howard Zinn (eds. Dean Birkenkamp and Wanda Rhudy)
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