Americans, it seems, are notoriously uneducated about our own history — and it's been well-documented. These kinds of headlines have been. Which are the best books on American history? Brent Glass, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, selects his top five. If you want to learn more about American history you have countless books to choose from. The problem is that most American history books.
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This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the making of today's uneasy superpower." - Robert Cook, Professor of American History. venarefeane.ga: A History of the American People (): Paul Johnson : Books. The top history books of last year picked by site Book Review Editor, Chris History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the.
To describe it as a revisionist account is to risk understatement. A conventional historical account held no allure; he concentrated on what he saw as the genocidal depredations of Christopher Columbus, the blood lust of Theodore Roosevelt and the racial failings of Abraham Lincoln. He also shined an insistent light on the revolutionary struggles of impoverished farmers, feminists, laborers and resisters of slavery and war.
Such stories are more often recounted in textbooks today; they were not at the time. Writing in Dissent , Georgetown University history professor Michael Kazin argued that Zinn is too focused on class conflict , and wrongly attributes sinister motives to the American political elite.
He characterized the book as an overly simplistic narrative of elite villains and oppressed people, with no attempt to understand historical actors in the context of the time in which they lived. Kazin wrote:. The ironic effect of such portraits of rulers is to rob 'the people' of cultural richness and variety, characteristics that might gain the respect and not just the sympathy of contemporary readers.
For Zinn, ordinary Americans seem to live only to fight the rich and haughty and, inevitably, to be fooled by them. Kazin argued that A People's History fails to explain why the American political-economic model continues to attract millions of minorities, women, workers, and immigrants, or why the socialist and radical political movements Zinn favors have failed to gain widespread support among the American public.
Professional historians have often viewed Zinn's work with exasperation or condescension, and Zinn was no innocent in the dynamic. I stood against the wall for a Zinn talk at the University of Oregon around the time of the Columbus Quincentenary. Listening to Zinn, one would have thought historians still considered Samuel Eliot Morison 's book on Columbus to be definitive. The crowd lapped it up, but Zinn knew better. He missed a chance to explain how the social movements of the s and s have transformed the writing and teaching of history, how his People's History did not spring out of thin air but was an effort to synthesize a widely shared shift in historical sensibilities.
Zinn's historical theorizing, conflating objectivity with neutrality and position with bias, was no better. The critics would be churlish, however, not to acknowledge the moving example Zinn set in the civil-rights and Vietnam movements, and they would be remiss not to note the value of A People's History , along with its limitations.
Zinn told tales well, stories that, while familiar to historians, often remained unknown to wider publics. He challenged national pieties and encouraged critical reflection about received wisdom. He understood that America's various radicalisms, far from being "un-American," have propelled the nation toward more humane and democratic arrangements.
And he sold two-million copies of a work of history in a culture that is increasingly unwilling to read and, consequently, unable to imagine its past very well. That America is not a better place—that it finds itself almost globally despised, mired in war, self-doubt and random violence—is also a fact, of course, but not one that Zinn's brand of history seems equal to.
His stick-figure pageant of capitalist cupidity can account, in its fashion, for terrorism—as when, in the second volume, subtitled "Class Struggle to the War on Terror," he notes that Sept. As for the "new possibilities" it points to, I can't see them clearly.
Professors Michael Kazin and Michael Kammen condemn the book as a black-and-white story of elite villains and oppressed victims, a story that robs American history of its depth and intricacy and leaves nothing but an empty text simplified to the level of propaganda. Although it was originally meant to be an expansion of the original book, recent editions of A People's History now contain all of the later chapters from it.
In , Zinn and Anthony Arnove published a collection of more than primary source documents titled Voices of a People's History of the United States , available both as a book and as a CD of dramatic readings. Writer Aaron Sarver notes that although Kazin "savaged" Zinn's A People's History of the United States , "one of the few concessions Kazin made was his approval of Zinn punctuating 'his narrative with hundreds of quotes from slaves and Populists , anonymous wage-earners and Whether Zinn intended it or not, Voices serves as a useful response to Kazin's critique.
As Sarver observes, " Voices is a vast anthology that tells heartbreaking and uplifting stories of American history. Kazin will be hard-pressed to charge Zinn with politicizing the intelligence here; the volume offers only Zinn's sparse introductions to each piece, letting the actors and their words speak for themselves. Zinn worked as the editor for a series of books under the A People's History label. This series expands upon the issues and historic events covered in A People's History of the United States by giving them in-depth coverage, and also covers the history of parts of the world outside the United States.
A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present
These books include: The new version, adapted from the original text by Rebecca Stefoff, is updated through the end of , and includes a new introduction and afterword by Zinn. In his introduction, Zinn writes, "It seems to me it is wrong to treat young readers as if they are not mature enough to look at their nation's policies honestly.
I am not worried about disillusioning young people by pointing to the flaws in the traditional heroes. In addition, the New Press released an updated version of The Wall Charts for A People's History —a 2-piece fold-out poster featuring an illustrated timeline of U.
In , the Zinn Education Project was launched to promote and support the use of A People's History of the United States and other materials for teaching in middle and high school classrooms across the U.
The goal of the project is to give American students accurate and complete versions of U. The project now offers teaching guides and bibliographies that can be freely downloaded. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A People's History of the United States hardcover edition.
History of the American Left. Active organizations. Defunct organizations. Related topics. If you look through high school textbooks and elementary school textbooks in American history, you will find Andrew Jackson the frontiersman, soldier, democrat, man of the people — not Jackson the slaveholder, land speculator, executioner of dissident soldiers, exterminator of Indians.
The New York Times. Zinn, delighted in Zinn recalled in an interview with The New York Times.
A History of the Book in America (5 volume set)
An interview with historian Howard Zinn". Archived from the original on Retrieved The American Scholar. Archived from the original on October 10, Many critics have labeled it agitprop an amalgamation of agitation and propaganda designed to push people towards political causes that Zinn favored.
Howard made them very explicit. The teachers you remember are the ones with a passion for history who made it clear what they thought. They were not polemicists. They respected the canons of historical scholarship, as Zinn did, but they cared deeply. The book also addresses battles that happened that year such as the Battle of Dorchester Heights, the Battle of Long Island, and the Battle of Trenton.
Roach Published in , this book lays out the events of the Salem Witch Trials as they happened.
Each chapter is dedicated to a specific month in the witch hunt, which began in January of and ended in May of Since the Salem Witch Trials can be confusing and complicated sometimes and involved many events with many different people, this book is great at clearing up the confusion by spelling out exactly what happened and when.
Marilynne K. The book details how Native-American tribes, African slaves and even countries such as Spain, France and the Netherlands helped shape colonial America. Frederick Douglass. Robert A.
Jon Meacham. John Hersey. David Hackett Fischer. Candice Millard. Thomas Paine. Taylor Branch.
Sarah Vowell. Hampton Sides. Jon Krakauer Goodreads Author. Richard Rhodes.
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Cokie Roberts. Isabel Wilkerson Goodreads Author. Jay Winik.
Rick Atkinson. Daniel Walker Howe. Neil Sheehan. Tom Brokaw. William Manchester. Paul Johnson. Cornelius Ryan. Black Elk. Ey Wade Goodreads Author. Larry Schweikart. Andrea Lee Smith. Bruce Catton. John Steinbeck. Marc Reisner. Ulysses S. Stephen B.
Amity Shlaes Goodreads Author. Catherine Drinker Bowen. John F.
David Halberstam. John M.
David M. Naomi Klein.
Rick Perlstein. Richard Hofstadter. John Keegan. Mark Bowden. Jim Bishop. Vincent Bugliosi.
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Cindy books friends. Steven books friends. Dave books 51 friends. Heather books friends. Don books friends. Todd books 13 friends. Lisa books 27 friends. Rob books 23 friends. Oct 15, That's the best American History book. Feb 02, So why isn't it up there? I mean, if you think it's the best then it should have at least one vote right? Jul 26, How is The Rape of Nanking about American history? Sep 17, Who on earth selected these books?
Where is Shelby Foote or Bruce Catton? Where is a decent history of the American Revolution? Where is there a history of Political Parties in the US? Some of these authors are inferior in writing on the subject matter. It is not only important to learn about our history, but to learn about it from leaders in the field of the subject matter. Where is the Viet Nam War? Sep 20, It's pretty easy to add books, over at the right side of the page.
Shelby Foote is on the list, on page two. There are plenty of books on the list that are either about the American Revolution, or are biographies of the people involved in it. And the books were selected by the people who have chosen to vote on this list.
Mar 20, I love this list! I have found some great reads from it. Thanks to everyone who chose the books. My latest read was Indian Givers and it was amazing.
Nov 12, I've read: The Revolutionary Generation" Good.
Currently reading: Has been Excellent. Nov 16, I have yet to read a McCullough I haven't liked. Dec 30, Apr 17, I love The Killer Angels and you can learn a lot from it, but it's a novel. Isn't this a non-fiction list? Johnny Tremain is a wonderful novel that brings pre-Revolutionary Boston to life, but it's not a history. All of Jeff Shaara's books are novels. I haven't read them and it's unlikely that I will , butI don't think Ron Paul's books are history.
Gore Vidal's Lincoln, Burr, etc. Cindy, you're the creator of this list - you want me to remove the non-fiction? I really had non-fiction in mind, but I admit that I voted for Killer Angels. I really don't want this to turn into a historical romance list, but there's a difference between Gone With the Wind and Killer Angels.
What does everyone else think? Apr 18, Y'all tell me what to delete, and I'll be happy to delete it. Jul 03, Jul 04, I don't see any reason why Rise and Fall of the Third Reich should be on, no. Jul 05, Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Christopher Phelps, associate professor of American studies in the School of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham wrote: Professional historians have often viewed Zinn's work with exasperation or condescension, and Zinn was no innocent in the dynamic.
Travel With Us. Sign up. Doug Rossinow on The Reagan Era. He cites various instances of opposition to fighting in some cases greater than those during World War I as proof. Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Photos Submit to Our Contest. The book examines twelve high school history textbooks and notes how they are filled with blind patriotism, misinformation and outright lies.
He provides important details around that revolt that clearly influenced the chapter I wrote about The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
History of the American Left.