Photo

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn


  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:10 PM

Has anyone else read this?

If so, what did you think? Please talk about the older history and perhaps avoid some topics to attempt to avoid it being deemed a political conversation.

#2 Chris B

Chris B

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 21,863 posts
  • LocationBaltimore, MD

Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:49 PM

Oh man....I read this book over the summer for AP US History my sophomore year of high school.

Boy was it a doozy. I didn't understand a lot of it. But it definitely prepared me for that class.

#3 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 20 September 2012 - 09:23 PM

Oh man....I read this book over the summer for AP US History my sophomore year of high school.

Boy was it a doozy. I didn't understand a lot of it. But it definitely prepared me for that class.


I think that's good that the book was included in your high school history class. It shows a lot of progress imo.

#4 DJ MC

DJ MC

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 23,680 posts
  • LocationBeautiful Bel Air, MD

Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:10 PM

I checked it out of the library once, but never got around to reading it. I've wanted to, though.

#5 Chris B

Chris B

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 21,863 posts
  • LocationBaltimore, MD

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:44 AM

I think that's good that the book was included in your high school history class. It shows a lot of progress imo.


It definitely shows a different view of the history of the U.S., that's for sure. It causes you to reflect on how minorities (or even, just different Americans) viewed the events that occurred or were done to them.

#6 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 21 September 2012 - 02:04 PM

It definitely shows a different view of the history of the U.S., that's for sure. It causes you to reflect on how minorities (or even, just different Americans) viewed the events that occurred or were done to them.


So after reading that, do you look at our history as a good one, a bad one, or as very much a mixed bag?

#7 Chris B

Chris B

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 21,863 posts
  • LocationBaltimore, MD

Posted 21 September 2012 - 02:41 PM

So after reading that, do you look at our history as a good one, a bad one, or as very much a mixed bag?


Do you mean the US history in general, or how it is taught in American schools (whether that be private or public, I presume they are taught similarly).

#8 Russ

Russ

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 9,160 posts
  • LocationNaughtyham

Posted 21 September 2012 - 02:52 PM

So after reading that, do you look at our history as a good one, a bad one, or as very much a mixed bag?

History is history. I don't think Zinn attempted to convince people "America Bad!" He is adding another viewpoint to the discussion. So take what you learned in school and take what Zinn taught you, now make an informed opinion of America and its past and consider the good and the bad.

#9 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 21 September 2012 - 03:17 PM

Do you mean the US history in general, or how it is taught in American schools (whether that be private or public, I presume they are taught similarly).


Yes, U.S History in general.

But I'd be interested in an answer to both.

#10 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 21 September 2012 - 03:18 PM

History is history. I don't think Zinn attempted to convince people "America Bad!" He is adding another viewpoint to the discussion. So take what you learned in school and take what Zinn taught you, now make an informed opinion of America and its past and consider the good and the bad.


He was attempting to present the other side and I do believe he wanted to influence people to think much differently regarding the U.S., and when I say differently, I primarily mean more negatively.

#11 Russ

Russ

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 9,160 posts
  • LocationNaughtyham

Posted 21 September 2012 - 03:30 PM

He was attempting to present the other side and I do believe he wanted to influence people to think much differently regarding the U.S., and when I say differently, I primarily mean more negatively.

Sure. He was presenting the other side of the story to combat what's in most textbooks. I don't think his goal was to have readers hate America.

#12 RShack

RShack

    http://tinyurl.com/fake-news-BS

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,815 posts

Posted 21 September 2012 - 06:18 PM

Sure. He was presenting the other side of the story to combat what's in most textbooks. I don't think his goal was to have readers hate America.

Right.

History is generally told by the winners. The ways people get screwed is rarely discussed if it goes against whatever rah-rah story the winners wanna tell. Just because somebody wants to fill in the parts that get filtered out, that doesn't mean they're up to anything... except wanting to fill in parts of the truth that otherwise would be forgotten.

 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#13 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:26 PM

Sure. He was presenting the other side of the story to combat what's in most textbooks. I don't think his goal was to have readers hate America.


I'm not saying it was.

How about you tell me what you thought of the actual book?

#14 RShack

RShack

    http://tinyurl.com/fake-news-BS

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,815 posts

Posted 21 September 2012 - 07:30 PM

I'm not saying it was.

How about you tell me what you thought of the actual book?

IMO, everybody should read it. Some folks who like to think we're better than everybody else might not like it though.

Personally, I think America is better, but not in the way that some folks think. To me, we're best in part because we eventually get around to admitting our mistakes and taking steps to fix them... not that you can tell that recently...

 "You say you've lost your faith, but that's not where its at.

  You have no faith to lose, and ya know it" - Bob Dylan


#15 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 21 September 2012 - 08:01 PM

IMO, everybody should read it. Some folks who like to think we're better than everybody else might not like it though.

Personally, I think America is better, but not in the way that some folks think. To me, we're best in part because we eventually get around to admitting our mistakes and taking steps to fix them... not that you can tell that recently...


Hey, we agree about something.

Well it's hard not to think it's better than the portrayal in the book since Zinn intentionally left out the good stuff since he assumed people already had that side of the story.

You're right about the taking steps to fix mistakes part, but it wasn't very timely in the case of the treatment of blacks and other minorities and I don't think there's been many steps or even the admitting of mistakes in regards to foreign policy. Not that we can really talk about that much. I guess we can talk about some older stuff. The line between talking history and politics and often be blurry. At least it's not a party thing as both have been pretty consistent in this regard.

#16 Russ

Russ

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 9,160 posts
  • LocationNaughtyham

Posted 21 September 2012 - 09:22 PM

I'm not saying it was.

How about you tell me what you thought of the actual book?


It's been a while since I read it, but I'll offer my thoughts. I think Zinn portrayed America as an almost feudalism type of society. He emphasized the class struggle and the problems of people in the lower class. The reasons and the causes of people being in the lower class was Zinn's main issue and, by extension, I feel he was condemning capitalism and was borderline Marxist. In any capitalist society, you are going to have the have-nots. You can argue whether this is a valid point or not. I don't think so.

#17 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 21 September 2012 - 09:32 PM

It's been a while since I read it, but I'll offer my thoughts. I think Zinn portrayed America as an almost feudalism type of society. He emphasized the class struggle and the problems of people in the lower class. The reasons and the causes of people being in the lower class was Zinn's main issue and, by extension, I feel he was condemning capitalism and was borderline Marxist. In any capitalist society, you are going to have the have-nots. You can argue whether this is a valid point or not. I don't think so.


I don't know if he was condemning capitalism, but he was at least warning against unchecked capitalism or at least having capitalism not being checked enough. I think that's a reasonable point. People talk about letting the market dictate things, but if we truly did that, it would be disastrous for most people imo. I think he also made good points regarding the imbalance in our society, especially in comparison to the narrative that we often here about America.

But sure, I'd say he was over the top with his criticisms. As was stated, it obviously wasn't intended to be balanced, though, and is a good counter balance to what we generally read/learn about our country.

#18 Russ

Russ

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 9,160 posts
  • LocationNaughtyham

Posted 21 September 2012 - 09:50 PM

I don't know if he was condemning capitalism, but he was at least warning against unchecked capitalism or at least having capitalism not being checked enough. I think that's a reasonable point. People talk about letting the market dictate things, but if we truly did that, it would be disastrous for most people imo. I think he also made good points regarding the imbalance in our society, especially in comparison to the narrative that we often here about America.

But sure, I'd say he was over the top with his criticisms. As was stated, it obviously wasn't intended to be balanced, though, and is a good counter balance to what we generally read/learn about our country.


I disagree regarding your point about Zinn's argument against unchecked capitalism. The book was published in 1980. Most economic policies to "check capitalism" had been in place for 40 years by then in some form or other. There comes a point when you modify capitalism so much to help so many people out, that it isn't capitalism anymore. It's socialism. And Zinn was without a doubt a socialist.

#19 mweb08

mweb08

    HOF

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 27,973 posts
  • LocationRidgely's Delight

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:02 PM

That's fine, I guess. I think the word socialism gets thrown around way too frivolously these days, but at least in this book, he does seem to at least be sympathetic to socialism in the book. In this case though, I'm not sure how you can dispute that he's also arguing against relatively unchecked capitalism. I think that was abundantly clear. And the book has more recent updates too.

I won't continue to debate this aspect since it's possibly getting too political.

#20 Russ

Russ

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 9,160 posts
  • LocationNaughtyham

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:01 PM

That's fine, I guess. I think the word socialism gets thrown around way too frivolously these days, but at least in this book, he does seem to at least be sympathetic to socialism in the book. In this case though, I'm not sure how you can dispute that he's also arguing against relatively unchecked capitalism. I think that was abundantly clear. And the book has more recent updates too.

I won't continue to debate this aspect since it's possibly getting too political.

I won't either but Zinn was a self-proclaimed socialist. I'm not throwing the word around frivolously.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Our Sponsors


 width=