The Political Theater of Howard Zinn
Emma / Marx in Soho / The Daughter of Venus
Beacon Press (March 2010)
Paper • ISBN-13: 9780807073261 • US $18.00 • 216 pgs.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The only edition of world-renowned historian Howard Zinn’s three plays, an essential book for fans of Zinn or anyone interested in political theater.
World-renowned historian Howard Zinn has turned to drama to explore the legacy of Karl Marx and Emma Goldman and to delve into the intricacies of political and social conscience perhaps more deeply than traditional history permits. Three Plays brings together all this work, including the previously unpublished Daughter of Venus, along with a new introductory essay on political theater, and prefaces to each of the plays.
“The first act of Emma, Howard Zinn’s play about Emma Goldman, is a small miracle. Here is a drama that holds down the heroics, polemics and didacticism to which works about heroes and heroines are prone. True, Emma is idealized; she is loving, honest, selfless, daring, but she is also human and believable.”
Walter Goodman, New York Times
“[Marx in Soho is] an imaginative critique of our society’s hypocrisies and injustices, and an entertaining, vivid portrait of Karl Marx as a voice of humanitarian justice—which is perhaps the best way to remember him.”
“[Daughter of Venus’s] central concerns—personal and social ethics; the balance of obligations to ourselves, our families, and our fellow citizens; the uses and abuses of political and scientific power—remain as timely as ever. . . . Zinn not only displays a fluid and passionately committed style but also is attempting to do something interesting with it: to interweave a story of familial tensions and national politics, and in doing so to remind us that the way we live our lives on the small, local, day-to-day scale of family life can have repercussions and implications for the life of the nation at large.”
Louise Kennedy, Boston Globe
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 African American 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 over 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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