The Indispensable Zinn: The Essential Writings of the "People's Historian"

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Overview


When the historian Howard Zinn died in early 2010, millions mourned the loss of one of our foremost intellectual and political guides: a historian, activist, and truth-teller who, in the words of the New York Times’s Bob Herbert, “peel[ed] back the rosy veneer of much of American history.”

Designed to highlight Zinn’s most important writings, The Indispensable Zinn includes excerpts from Zinn’s bestselling A People’s History of the United States; his memoir, You Can’t Be ...

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The Indispensable Zinn: The Essential Writings of the

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Overview


When the historian Howard Zinn died in early 2010, millions mourned the loss of one of our foremost intellectual and political guides: a historian, activist, and truth-teller who, in the words of the New York Times’s Bob Herbert, “peel[ed] back the rosy veneer of much of American history.”

Designed to highlight Zinn’s most important writings, The Indispensable Zinn includes excerpts from Zinn’s bestselling A People’s History of the United States; his memoir, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train; his inspiring writings on the civil rights movement; and the full text of his celebrated play Marx in Soho. Noted historian and activist Timothy Patrick McCarthy provides essential historical and biographical context for each selection.

With an introduction from Zinn’s former Spellman College student and longtime friend Alice Walker and an afterword by Zinn’s friend and colleague Noam Chomsky, The Indispensable Zinn is both a fitting tribute to the legacy of a man whose “work changed the way millions of people saw the past” (Noam Chomsky) and a powerful and accessible introduction for anyone discovering Zinn for the first time.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Well-chosen anthology of the radical historian's prodigious output. If you know anything about Dunmore's War or the Ludlow Massacre and are not a professional historian, the chances are good that you read about it in the pages of Zinn's A People's History of the United States. If you know anything about Zinn himself, it is largely because he was a relentlessly dedicated activist, somewhat less public than the likeminded Noam Chomsky but in no way as cloistered as the average academician. He was never shy about a good scrap. Indeed, writes volume editor McCarthy (History and Literature/Harvard Univ.; co-editor: Protest Nation: Words That Inspired A Century of American Radicalism, 2010, etc.), "Howard's troublemaking--pedagogically, intellectually, politically--is now the stuff of legend, in large part because he was so consistently willing to speak truth to power throughout his life, no matter the stakes." True enough: He was fired from one appointment, unheard of for academics outside of cases of fraud or moral turpitude, though he went on to enjoy a quarter-century of tenure at Boston University. McCarthy gathers material not just from the well-known People's History, but also from less easily available publications from the civil rights and antiwar eras. In one, Zinn addresses the question "what is radical history?" The answer is invigorating, speaking to a kind of public history that allows us to "intensify, expand, sharpen our perception of how bad things are, for the victims of the world." That anticipates some of the "Occupy History" concerns of recent months by several decades, but it is also distinctly collegial; Zinn even gives a tip of the hat to Henry Kissinger, declaring, "Kissinger has always been one of my favorites." "We need to expand the prevailing definition of patriotism beyond that narrow nationalism that has caused so much death and suffering," writes Zinn. For sympathetic readers, this makes an ideal primer for that cause.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595586223
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,437,671
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author


Timothy Patrick McCarthy is Lecturer on History and Literature and on Public Policy at Harvard University, where he directs the Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights Program at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. An award-winning scholar, teacher, and activist, he is editor of The Indispensable Zinn and co-editor of The Radical Reader, Protest Nation, and Prophets of Protest, all published by The New Press. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Howard Zinn, the famed people’s historian and peace activist, was born in 1922 and died in 2010.
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