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

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

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by Howard Zinn
     
 

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Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, tells his personal stories about more than thirty years of fighting for social change, from teaching at Spelman College to recent protests against war.

A former bombardier in WWII, Zinn emerged in the civil rights movement as a powerful voice for justice. Although he's a fierce critic, he gives

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Overview

Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, tells his personal stories about more than thirty years of fighting for social change, from teaching at Spelman College to recent protests against war.

A former bombardier in WWII, Zinn emerged in the civil rights movement as a powerful voice for justice. Although he's a fierce critic, he gives us reason to hope that by learning from history and engaging politically, we can make a difference in the world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A teacher who committed his politically engaged life to the belief that love is a command to action.—Colman McCarthy, The Washington Post

"A powerful, politically electric book from one of the most engaging social critics in the nation."—Jonathan Kozol

"A history and a history maker to give us hope."—Alice Walker

"A personal favorite. This autobiography by the great activist and historian...provides an eloquent, personal account of the struggles for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, and a universal paean to protest and resistance."—Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive

"Zinn explains his involvement in the struggles for civil rights, against war, and in support of organized labor by citing his 'abhorrence of any kind of bullying.' These are lively tales."—Patricia O'Connell, The New York Times

"Pick up this book! Start reading it! I guarantee you won't stop. The most influential teacher I've ever had continues to teach us about life and humanity and hope."—Marian Wright Edelman

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Noted left-wing historian Zinn (A People's History of the United States) believes that activism and education are inextricable, and his memoir illuminates a well-engaged life. Teaching at Atlanta's Spelman College in the early days of the civil rights movement, he found allies in principled students like Marian Wright (now Edelman) and budding writer Alice Walker. He advised SNCC in Selma, Ala. He volunteered to fight the Nazis but, after Hiroshima, developed a skeptical pacifism he further exercised as a passionate opponent of the Vietnam War. Zinn's narrative is oddly disjointed: not until late in the book does he recount his youth in the slums of Brooklyn, his discovery of Dickens, Marx and Steinbeck and his post-WW II years as a laborer and a 27-year-old college freshman. If Zinn is a bit Pollyannish, he's also inspirational, arguing that, because much has changed in history, "We can be surprised again. Indeed, we can do the surprising.'' (Sept.)
Booknews
Zinn (political science, Boston U.) brings to life 30 years of American history by telling the stories behind his politically engaged life. He writes of his experiences in WWII, his work in the civil rights and anti-war movements, and his imprisonment for civil disobedience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Colman McCarthy
A warmhearted memoir of a teacher who committed his politically engaged life to the belief that love is a command to action.
The Washington Post

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807071274
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
09/28/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
445,629
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.57(d)

What People are saying about this

Maureen Corrigan
An inspiring autobiography…in the tradition of Martin Luther King's Letter From a Birmingham Jail.
—(Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio)
Jonathan Kozol
A powerful, politically electric book from one of the most engaging social critics in the nation.
—(Jonathan Kozol)
Marian Wright Edelman
Pick up this book! Start reading it! I guarantee you won't stop. The most influential teacher I've ever had continues to teach us about life and humanity and hope.
—(Marian Wright Edelman)
Alice Walker
A history and a history-maker to give us hope.
—(Alice Walker)

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You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
What lessons, if any, do past social movements teach American citizens? Is change feasible in today¿s society? Howard Zinn attempts to answer these two questions, along with a number of others, in his book entitled 'You Can¿t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times.' A beautifully written and inspirational book, 'You Can¿t Be Neutral on a Moving Train' is quintessential Zinn¿direct, yet optimistic. Zinn¿s central argument is that we are all capable of participating in change, however, for change to occur, we must all experience a social and political reawakening. Zinn¿s book offers the reader a more hopeful version of politics and society. Yet, such a version is only feasible if we, as Americans, actively participate in the political process. This involvement will fill ones soul with a sense of meaning, and in the end will create a better world for all to live in. For those interested in the history of American society, politics, and social justice issues, 'You Can¿t Be Neutral on a Moving Train' is a marvelous book filled with inspiration.