Howard Zinn

Haymarket Books (September 2012)

Paper • ISBN-13: 9781608463060 • US $18.00 • 312 pgs.


The South has long been surrounded in mystique. In this powerful volume, first published in 1967, Zinn draws on his own experiences teaching in the South and working within the Southern civil rights movement to challenge stereotypes surrounding the South, race relations, and how change happens in history. With a new introduction from the author.


“[It’s] a particular joy … to read Howard Zinn’s calm, conscientious account of his experiences as a white teacher at Spelman College in the Deep South, experiences in which the nature of prejudice is viewed with understanding, perspicacity and … a not too guarded optimism…. [T]he book’s real strength lies in its many examples of cultural maladjustment toward political, economic and religious disparities. There is, for instance, a telling chapter on the much-publicized jailings of King and his followers in Albany, Georgia, for which Zinn blames Washington irresolution, rather than local ‘evil.’ Zinn’s temperature reading of the sick South shows up the sickness—a sleeping one, as it were—of the Republic. Thus his optimism is contingent upon our awakening to action and to health.”

Kirkus Reviews 

“[A] book that, in its analysis of the South as quintessentially American, helped stimulate the ongoing debate over whether the region is different from and at odds with the rest of the country.”

Jimmy Lewis Franklin, Southern Cultures

“It is recommended reading for all who assume that there are palpable distinctions which set the South apart from the rest of the United States.”

The Journal of Southern History 

“The strongest argument yet assembled for civil rights laws as a wedge for ultimate integration…. This is a mentally bracing view…. The view of the new radicals, which Zinn so eloquently presents, reminds us that change and openness are synonymous with life.”

Warren Sloat, Cross Currents (1965)


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.


A People’s History of the United States: 1492–Present

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)

A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies of Law and Order


Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian

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)

Justice in Everyday Life: The Way It Really Works

LaGuardia in Congress

Marx in Soho: A Play on History

New Deal Thought

Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics (with David Barsamian)

Passionate Declarations: Essays on War and Justice

Postwar America: 1945–1971

SNCC: The New Abolitionists

The Bomb: Essays

The Historic Unfulfilled Promise

The People Speak: American Voices, Some Famous, Some Little Known

The Politics of History

The Twentieth Century: A People’s History

Three Plays – The Political Theater of Howard Zinn: Emma / Marx in Soho / The Daughter of Venus

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)

Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal

You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times


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