Read The Twentieth Century: A People's History by Howard Zinn Online

the-twentieth-century-a-people-s-history

Containing just the twentieth-century chapters from Howard Zinn's bestselling A People's History of the United States, this revised and updated edition includes two new chapters -- covering Clinton's presidency, the 2000 Election, and the "war on terrorism."Highlighting not just the usual terms of presidential administrations and congressional activities, this book provideContaining just the twentieth-century chapters from Howard Zinn's bestselling A People's History of the United States, this revised and updated edition includes two new chapters -- covering Clinton's presidency, the 2000 Election, and the "war on terrorism."Highlighting not just the usual terms of presidential administrations and congressional activities, this book provides you with a "bottom-to-top" perspective, giving voice to our nation's minorities and letting the stories of such groups as African Americans, women, Native Americans, and the laborers of all nationalities be told in their own words....

Title : The Twentieth Century: A People's History
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060530341
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 512 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Twentieth Century: A People's History Reviews

  • Steffan
    2019-03-21 09:32

    Yes, I read this book because of the reference to it in Good Will Hunting. And yes, it knocked me on my ass. How do you like dem apples?

  • Mike
    2019-02-27 11:35

    Professor Zinn and I have vastly different political beliefs but I'm going to discuss his book and not his politics right up until the end. This is an abridgement of Zinn's A People's History of the United States that only covers the 20th Century. Apparently, according to Zinn, the 20th Century didn't begin until the 1960s and then everyone protested a lot of things. Zinn makes the point of describing the "people" from the title by saying 1% of Americans control 45% of the wealth, the "people" are the other 99%. Zinn then goes on the talk about civil rights protestors, anti-war protestors, prison protestors, Indian protestors, and on and on, so in reality, the "people" are the 1% of the population who protest. The other 98% are forgotten about, I assume because they have jobs and don't have time to protest. [return][return]Zinn also misuses data to make his points, for example, comparing incomes between two groups but only converting one into 2004 dollars. He also assumes meanings to events that are not really there. For instance, in discussing the 1992 election, he states that 19% of voters were unhappy with the choices given by the two major parties and protested against the choices they were given by voting for Ross Perot. As unlikely as it seems, I would be willing to bet the a fair number of people who voted for Perot did so because they wanted to vote for him and not as a protest against the other candidates. These are just a few examples of issues I had with this book. I say book, but it was actually an audio book, so I should probably say CDs. The reason I mention that is I said at the start that I was not going to discuss Zinn's politics until the end, which would be now. [return][return]While I agree with some of what Zinn said I still had a hard time finishing the book (CD) and actually I didn't finish it. I made it to the last CD when Zinn started talking about poor oppressed Mumia Abu-Jamal and how he was sentenced to death because the government wanted to shut him up, no mention of the crime he committed or of the cop he killed. At that point I hit the eject button and if the CDs hadn't belonged to the library, I would have chucked them out the window onto 95. Damn Communist Bastard.

  • Chris
    2019-03-03 06:24

    Again, this was another book that changed my views of the world. Its the history of our bad deeds of the US and its people. But understanding that going in, it'll show you the silent side of our history without making you hate our country. Very dense, but still a must read.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-16 07:18

    Although I don't agree with everything Professor Zinn says, this is an extremely compelling read and presents a different point of view than I imagine most kids get in American schools (I attended extremely liberal schools in an extremely liberal state, so not a lot of this history was new to me). However, the part of the book where Professor Zinn suggests we all destroy infrastructure and go live in utopian communes is, in my opinion, an extremely naive idea for a professor of history to have. I'm not extremely pro-capitalism or anti-socialism, but he completely ignores the history of human nature, and of people's attempts to live in such communes, when he suggests that we'd all be able to work a few hours a day, for the good of the community, and be able to spend the rest of the day off in our own intellectual pursuits. I've seen the commune system at work in China, North Korea, and the USSR, and it has NEVER worked out. For tiny divergent groups, it's probably fine; I don't ever see it working on a large scale. However, besides this rather crazy tangent of his, I really liked this book. There needs to be more histories that chart the existence and lives of the unrepresented; if history is written by the winners, we need to hear from the people who didn't win much more often than we ever do. My favorite part of this book was a quote, not by Zinn himself, that articulated something I've been feeling since we started the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; but I've never been able to say it so eloquently:"We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism. Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children.In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear."--Former U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bowman, in Howard Zinn’s "A People’s History of the United States"

  • Derek
    2019-02-27 07:20

    Required reading to have any intelligent conversation about the country.

  • Triet Lieu
    2019-03-06 13:37

    I have read many books concerning the development of new political ideologies during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I know that the Industrial Revolution culminated from advances in transportation, which improved trade by allowing for the quicker distribution of manufactured products and the growth of cities; advances in technology, Eli Whitney's interchangeable parts and Ransom Olds's asembly line revolutionized industry; discovery of new sources of energy such as coal and oil to power the growing markets and factories. I also know that cultural changes swept through the Industrial Revolution: former barons and landlords became capitalist factory owners; workers migrated form their farms to the cities in search of employment; civil unions and socialism growthed their ill will as the incomes of the upper class multiplied while those of labor workers rose just by a few percentages. I know how these changes led to social, cultural, eocnomic transformations in both the United States and abroad. I understand why Howard Zinn wrote this book and how he would answer some of the questions which I have formulated in my brain after reading this work of twentieth century analysis.I gave this book three stars because I find most of the information to be redundant. Without even needing to research the author, I knew that he was a socialist, not that I frown on such an philosophy which is seen as a less extreme system of communism. The author supports minority groups which fight for their right to the pursuit of happiness, economic stabilility, and govenrment protection. But, I have grown pas t the point in which I blame society for my troubles. It is true that I did not attend the best schools in my neighborhood and that I did not receive equal levels of enocuragement as children born to more successful parents. But look at where I am now! Success does not arise from challenging unfair social conditions, for me, it has always been about utilizing my resources effectively and directing my potential and interests to favorable endeavors. It would be bigotry for me to lower my rating of Zinn's Twentiweth Century because our contrasting beliefs, but I will not change our apraisal of his work.

  • Kristal Cooper
    2019-02-25 11:14

    This is a nice treatment of all the history you don't learn in textbooks - from the perspective of the minority groups that caused the change or were affected by it. I knew most of the information about the Black Rights movement and Native American struggles because I've read books about them and visited associated historic sites, but the rest was quite new to me. American suffragettes, gays/lesbians, war objectors, and prisoners are just some of the groups that should be covered better in school, but who's stories are really only found in detail here.The audio version of this book is read by Matt Damon. His is the perfect voice for an intelligent, thought-provoking few hours of politics and drama.

  • Monica
    2019-02-20 06:13

    This book was incredibly biased, without identifying itself as so. The author, at one point, refers to Bill O'Reilly as "as popular TV personality", and implied that his statements reflected the mood of the entire country. There were some interesting points, but the author ignores so many contributing factors that it's almost impossible to read. When talking about prisoner's rights, for instance, he only talks about protesters that are arrested, he doesn't acknowledge the fact that a lot of the people in prison are dangerous people, and have their rights restricted because they've done atrocious things.

  • Molly
    2019-02-25 12:09

    This man is my hero, and opened up my eyes to the idea of balanced history. You have to accept the bad and shameful parts of our past if you really want to say that you love this country. That's something I still struggle with, but reading Zinn never fails to remind me of all the strides we've made, and how it was the small and seemingly insignificant people that brought about those changes.

  • Linda Stewart
    2019-03-18 12:23

    I've read bits and pieces of Zinn's book only in the last few years. Why wasn't he included in my history courses?

  • Nick
    2019-03-07 12:09

    This is like the liberal answer to reader's digest, not a history book.

  • Erik
    2019-02-25 12:30

    an eye opening book and a prescient author. encourages patriotism in the people and potential of our country if critical of its leadership.

  • acuriouslibrarian
    2019-02-27 13:36

    This should be required reading for all high school students.

  • Androo
    2019-02-20 05:37

    Being excerpted from a larger work necessarily means that this review is inherently not the most fair, however I believe "it was ok" is an accurate statement for this work. It is also the case that the American political climate has changed rapidly in the past decade (as it is wont to do), so this book is no longer as up-to-date in its projections or as accurate in its big-picture analyses.While Zinn makes some progress in drawing attention to the history of people who are usually categorically ignored in our public education history classes (e.g., the American inconsistency to condemn other countries' acts against their peoples while ignoring the poor living conditions that Native American reservations experience), other works, like Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me accomplish the same in fewer pages.Some of Zinn's arguments are unfair, though I shy away from what some other conservative reviewers below have called "tripe." Zinn does not claim that the oppressed are virtuous and that those in power are inherently evil, though he does point out that some relationships (crime with poverty, terrorism with war, etc.) could be more acutely addressed through the U.S. becoming a humanitarian superpower rather than a militaristic one -- an argument that some on the conservative side of the spectrum mislabel as communism. These arguments, though perhaps overly optimistic, are not poorly constructed. The unfair arguments rather come from omitting the opposing side.For instance, Zinn argues in this excerpt that voter apathy is primarily the result of the U.S.'s two-party system wherein a majority of the population does not believe that any candidate actually represents them. However, he fails to address that when the U.S. had a viable third-party candidate in Ross Perot that the turnout was still low (55% in 1992, 49% in 1996).While Zinn passed away in 2010, he openly told reporters that he would vote for Obama in 2008. I am curious as to how he would respond to some of the progressive policies that have come to fruition under Obama's administration, though I suspect that he would most likely (and with some overzealous fervor) that Obama was ultimately a failure. I got the impression here that Zinn moves the goal posts often in determining what 'progress' and 'success' mean.In short, if you want an optimistic take on what America could be and a brutal look at some of the unfair things we have done to our own citizens and others around the world, I'd suggest reading the entire book instead of just the excerpt. It's only fair. And while you may need to recognize that Zinn puts forth some biased interpretations (which you should really be doing with any historian), I'd argue that most observations are more true that the "undeniable string of progress" that American history is presented as traditionally. If, however, you believe America does not need to apologize for anything at all, it may be best to avoid Zinn altogether and read a less contentious historian.

  • Jamie
    2019-03-14 13:08

    If you are going to read this particular book or it's predecessor by Professor Zinn, I highly recommend accepting these two things before you begin. Understanding #1: If you believe the United States handled itself with nobility in all things and without error during the last 115 years, you will be sadly disappointed with the author's research and reporting. If you are so firmly entrenched in your political and historical beliefs you cannot hear other opinions without rushing to anger, this book is not for you. This book should be read by people who want to learn about lesser-known stories of activism, dissent, and struggle for belief systems which are sometimes overlooked as the march of time goes on. It should be read with an open mind, while also having an open browser window to research the people and the time periods being discussed to learn more about these snippets. Understanding #2: The author's goal is not the demean the United States and tear down the tree of liberty limb by limb. He instead chooses to shine a mirror on our nation's decisions and to discuss if our history is forgetting or overlooking important minority voices, egregious errors, or painful struggles in order to make us seem more infallible. In his conclusion, Zinn explains the book's goal is to supplement the current, popular historical record, which tends to paint certain period of history with a more "rose colored" brush. By discussing the stories of citizens who were not always on the winning side of history, we can learn about the more difficult decisions we made as a country, good or bad, and how we can avoid mistakes in the future. Zinn doesn't hate America. He hates war, poverty, discrimination, and greed. But I didn't walk away from this feeling he was an unpatriotic socialist. There isn't a more patriotic effort than that of a citizen who wants to discuss the actions of the nation in order to find a way to not repeat mistakes and be a better, more ethically focused democracy. I listened to this audio book read by Matt Damon and Howard Zinn, who both do a very good job at reading the book. The nature of the topic makes the audio feel long because it is difficult to hear at times. However, I feel more knowledgeable because of the experience, more thoughtful about many preconceived notions I had, and grateful for the different perspective from the typical historical record. I would recommend this book for college classes especially because it could cause great debates and extended research.

  • Bryan
    2019-03-15 06:08

    What complete garbage!Here is a quick synopsis:While the North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng were altruistic and wanted nothing but rainbows and butterflies, Americans are bad evil ogres (but only if they are white, male, Christian and heterosexual) who brutally kill any time they can so they can get rice and oil a little cheaper.Jimmy Carter was one of our best presidents; Reagan one of the worst. Wealth=wickedness; poverty=virtue. All white people are racist, all males are sexist, Christians are intolerant and heterosexuals are homophobic. Non-white people cannot be racist; they are oppressed. Marriage and family is a tool of subversion and oppression; NOT a means for raising children in a happy healthy environment, nor as a source of happiness and joy.Communism is the perfect system for sunshine and lollipops with everybody as smiling, happy hippies. The Soviet Union just did it wrong (and China, North Korea, Cuba don't exist - neither did Mao, Lenin, the Kim family or Castro).--Mentioning several isolated incidents is a lousy way to look at the big picture. Yes, there are examples of bigotry, violence and poverty in the United States. However, most people here welcome diversity and the poor of no other country are as well off as those in the USA. I would rather be the poorest American where there is a massive wealth inequality than be wealthy in North Korea where there is very little wealth inequality. Under communism, everyone is equally poor; in America, everyone has the opportunities necessary to become part of the super-rich. Most of our wealthiest people started from relatively humble backgrounds and became rich with brilliant ideas that improve the lives of countless people.Communism as a great system? No thanks, I will take my chances under capitalism.

  • Ian Allan
    2019-02-21 07:16

    It's crappy.I did the audio version. Never got into it and finally quit on it after completing 5 of the 7 discs. My son wisely bailed after two CDs. A neighbor started reading this book on paper and quickly quit.I like the overall idea. Let's get out and look at how native americans, blacks and women were discriminated against, and how government policies were involved. But it's not done in a good way. It's not compelling or memorable. Not enough new ground is broken, and it comes across as too slanted.Briefly he gets into indian fishing rights in the State of Washington. I live in this area, so that's an issue I am familiar with. Zinn's version is lacking, slanted and incomplete (leaving out any mention of the Boldt decision, where the indians ultimately prevailed).Too much of this book is spent at the micro level, explaining how 35 kids at a small college wore black arm bands or a dozen high school kids in Nebraska brought raw meat to school. Those little incidents aren't significant in the grand scheme of things.Most annoying were the milk-and-cookies sections, where Zinn argues that the prisoners of Attica were on the verge of creating some kind of interracial utopia if only the prison guards hadn't gotten involved. And he argues that the communists in Vietnam were really swell guys -- really looking out for the people of the region -- if only the U.S. hadn't gotten involved. World isn't black and white; it's gray.

  • Kerry Trombley
    2019-02-26 06:09

    Five stars for the first half. One star for the last half. I loved the first half, stories of Americans that have been forgotten (or at least not widely publicized). The civil right movements, the Vietnam war protests, the struggle for equal rights, etc. Great stories, most of which I have never heard before, that show a whole different side of of American history that you read in school (which is zinn's point). Great stories, about civil disobedience, individual acts of courage under extreme societal pressure; and with only a little of zinn's political rhetoric. Then he gets talking about more current events, from clinton's presidency and after, and it turned into a babbling rant about how every American president is a warmonger and disenfranchises poor people. He contradicts himself numerous times (such as when he blasts Clinton for getting involved with Somalia, but then blasts him again for NOT getting involved with Rwanda). I had to force myself to listen to the rest of it.To his credit, he tells you at the beginning of the book that he has an extreme progressive viewpoint, but it was extremely over the top. It turned from stories of audacious crusaders of freedom from oppression to a tirade against the American political system. I have never seen a book do such a 180 midway through.

  • Alex
    2019-03-21 13:26

    A great look at the 20th Century from the little guy with devout focus on civil rights activism and activism in general. Kinda lame that it's just the chapters from the original people history. Maaaaasive block quotes, kinda annoying. It falls apart at then end where he takes everything bad he's talked about in the previous 400 pages and paints a downright offensively dystopian portrait of America. He then suggest, flat out, that we not tear down, but totally abandon society and live in communes. "We would need b coordinated effort of local groups all over the country to reconstruct the economy for both efficiency and justice, producing in a cooperative way what people need most. We would start on our neighborhoods, our cities, our workplaces. Work of some kind would be needed by everyone, including people now kept out of the work force, children, old people "handicapped" people. Society could use the enormous energy now idle, the skills and talents now unused. Everyone would share the routine bu necessary jobs for a few ours a day, and leave most of the time free for enjoyment, creativity, labors of love, and yet produce enough for an equal and ample distribution of goods."Im not totally done but this chapter felt like it was lifted out of a totally different book. A pretty lame duck of a final chapter. Chock full of great info and just enough statistics for my taste.

  • Byron Wright
    2019-03-14 08:32

    Quick Summary: Useful read to see a different way of looking at the world, but I don't think the author has provided any useful way to resolve the issues.A useful book to get an alternative view on history. It certainly tells the tales of the downtrodden rather the elite. And that is exactly the point of the book. I think everyone should be aware of these types of tails because they tend to get lost in the history you learn is school and see in the media.I lean left socially, but to the right financially. I don't think that socialism is a dirty word and believe in wealth redistribution as part of my obligation to my society. I don't trust authority to necessarily do right by me and agree with many of the problems pointed out by the author. However, the author loses me with his prescriptions for change. His prescriptions for change include primarly unions and cooperatives. I don't think either of those solutions scale well. My experiences with unions in the past simply do not support them being useful for anything in the long run.This book is not a light read and I found it difficult to motivate myself to complete it. There are a ton of facts streamed together and it gets rather monotonous at times.

  • w gall
    2019-03-07 13:33

    Enlightening, but his guiding theme dominated the book too much: the struggle of the working class. Not so much in the beginning, which chronicled our genocides; and he did cover oppressed groups- women, for instance; but as the book went on, his central theme gobbled up everything else. It's neglected theme, one that needs to be revealed, but not at the expense of the fuller picture. I'm sure that would be more difficult, but it would be more readable and enlightening to widen the scope of American history. But I must say, it was disillusioning, in a useful way. It annihilates the view I was taught in elementary school in the 1960s, the rose colored glasses I was given to be "proud" of my country. But the clear bias of the book did not destroy "America the Beautiful," the land as well as some of the people, because it was clearly a partial picture. We should be indignant at the social injustices in our society, and be honest about our grievious national sins, as American exceptionalism blinds us to our need to make necessary corrections.

  • Samantha
    2019-03-22 08:35

    having not taken the AP US History my junior year in school, i found myself entirely jealous of all my non-slacker friends that got to read the whole thing, from columbus to present day. i wanted their enlightenment so bad. so, i bought the 20th century to see what all my peers were up to. the information is interesting, but zinn cannot help but deliver it in this arrogant didactic sort of way. instead of postulating theories, he rather instructs you, this is how it is, the western world is full of scoundrels, and we're all just little pawns in their elaborate game of war mongering. which is fun to get all riled up about, but as for taking him entirely seriously, you have step back every once in a while and take a deep breath...because it's a lot to take in. i suggest taking up smoking cigarettes while you read it. either american spirits or parliaments.

  • Megan
    2019-03-08 06:26

    I listened to this as a trial run to see if I would want to read the entire People's History of the United States, and now I can safely say I do not. It's not that I don't agree with the content, it's just that it's not as revolutionary and groundbreaking as I was led to believe. I didn't feel like I was reading an alternate textbook, it just felt like i was reading an ordinary textbook. I know about Malcom X and Cesar Chavez...is this supposed to be new to me? Two decades ago I bet this was a big deal, but all this is out in the open at this point in time. I was at least expecting to find out some behind the scenes scandal we didn't hear about in the chapters on the new stuff about the Clinton and Bush presidencies, but nothing new there. We are all aware that Gore got the majority of the popular vote and Bush still became president. Disappointing...

  • Richard Thompson
    2019-02-26 05:10

    Another pre-Goodreads title. I will use today's date as finished since I can't actually remember when I first read this book.Containing just the twentieth-century chapters from Howard Zinn's bestselling A People's History of the United States, this revised and updated edition includes two new chapters -- covering Clinton's presidency, the 2000 Election, and the "war on terrorism."Highlighting not just the usual terms of presidential administrations and congressional activities, this book provides you with a "bottom-to-top" perspective, giving voice to our nation's minorities and letting the stories of such groups as African Americans, women, Native Americans, and the laborers of all nationalities be told in their own words.

  • Adam Stauthamer
    2019-03-01 11:19

    As with any history I felt like Zinn missed some of our most important people's movements, but in general he captures the spirit. I am annoyed by his assertion that there is a deliberate and coordinated effort of the rich and powerful to subjugate and squash the poor and middle class. I am not saying the poor and middle class are not being squashed by the poor but I don't think for the most part the rich and powerful are acting on anything other than human nature. This does not change the fact that the poor and middle classes should always strive for more equal distribution of wealth but in essence that striving is the same type of striving the rich are doing (more successfully).

  • J.D. Chandler
    2019-02-25 08:09

    i love howard zinn as a historian because he boldly proclaims his political bias, and i agree with it. his great book the People's History of the United States skims over the twentieth century. this new volume corrects that and gives a good in-depth analysis of the history of the U.S. from 1900-2000. for those of us who lived through it, it is well worth reading to remind us and put things in perspective. for those that don't remember the 20th century so well, this is a vital book.zinn's call to action at the end of the book reminds me of the political activism and commitment of the 1990s. where has it gone?

  • Joshua Woodbury
    2019-03-19 07:14

    Addressing history from the perspective of the people rather than merely by looking back at results or viewing history from the perspective of the elite few is an interesting idea. I was concerned, however, that this method would focus on history as a long list of criminal events. The book rode that fine line for awhile, but, in my opinion, crossed the line on several opinions. As I read, I noticed that in focusing on the people's history the author still engaged in focused on the stories of individuals. I wonder if focusing on history from the eyes of those individuals is in the end a better representation of history than looking at history from the winner's perspective. Think about it.

  • Bekah
    2019-03-16 08:33

    Fascinating and well written alternative narration of history from those found in schools and mainstream sources. Often heartbreaking, and while it purposefully neglects the "heroes" of the nation as usually depicted in common history, it brings the focus back to the people and what was happening to those who are not part of the majority cultural narrative. Recommended as a counterpoint to public education sources and long revered government accounts. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book was the end notes on his process and source materials.

  • Kate Lawrence
    2019-02-21 11:08

    Not your standard history here--Zinn writes about how our government's decisions affected common people, both here and abroad. It is shocking to read about repeated instances of deliberate deception and many lives sacrificed by the U.S. government in the name of profit and power. He shines a spotlight on grassroots leaders and movements that the media either downplays or ignores altogether. Caring readers won't be cheered by what they read here, but will surely be better informed and perhaps more likely to speak out against injustice.

  • Emily
    2019-03-01 08:25

    Howard Zinn's version of history is much different from the history lessons we learned through our textbooks in high school and even college. As I read this book, I realized even more solidly how our history has been edited by people in power to paint a picture that fits their motives. This book relates the history of the working class, minorities, and women of our country. A new perspective on the complicated and somewhat shameful history of our country.