Back in the Day

People Talk

First came A People's History of the United States. Now Zinn is making history again.

Book Cover The unlikely course of historian/activist (or vice versa), Howard Zinn’s subversive (I take that to be a good thing) A People’s History of the United States—first published in 1981 to selling over a million copies and spawning a historiographic cottage industry (there now being a number of titles prefixed by A People’s History)—is a study in determination. Echoing the sentiment, “the voice of reason is small but persistent” reportedly emblazoned on the Freud Memorial in Vienna.

Who can say what might have been the awareness of the Zinn magnum opus without his tireless crisscrossing of the United States speaking and participating in colloquy and echoing the lessons and messages drawn from the People’s History? But that is another good story. An adjunct to the original tome, Voices of a People’s History (Seven Stories Press) collects the works of outsiders, rebels, and disenfranchised Americans—Frederick Douglass, George Jackson, Chief Joseph, Martin Luther King Jr., Plough Jogger, Sacco and Vanzetti, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Mark Twain, and Malcolm X. Zinn and Anthony Arnove sync this compendium of source materials to the chapters in the People’s History and Howard annotates the selections.

The publication of the updated and expanded second edition of Voices coincides with the History Channel’s Sunday evening, December 13, 8 PM, broadcast of The People Speak, which was directed and produced by Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn. Readers include Matt Damon, Danny Glover, Marisa Tomei, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Kerry Washington, Viggo Mortensen, Bruce Springsteen, and John Legend.
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