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Works of Radical Imagination

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Adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

A Young People's History of the United States brings to US history the viewpoints of workers, slaves, immigrants, women, Native Americans, and others whose stories, and their impact, are rarely included in books for young people. Beginning with a look at Christopher Columbus's arrival through the eyes of the Arawak Indians, then leading the reader through the struggles for worker's rights, women's rights, and civil rights during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ending with the current protests against continued American imperialism, Zinn presents a radical new way of understanding America's history. In so doing, he reminds readers that America’s true greatness is shaped by our dissident voices, not our military generals.

Check out our A Young People's History of the United States Lesson Plan here.

For more information about A Young People's History of the United States, and for access to a plethora of other resources about Howard Zinn's work and legacy, please visit The Zinn Education Project.

Watch Rebecca Stefoff on the history of the fight for student rights, read from A Young People's History of the United States:

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Howard Zinn for kids

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“Zinn has written a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those who have been exploited … the book is an excellent antidote to establishment history … While the book is precise enough to please specialists, it should satisfy any adult reader.”

“In many years of searching, we have not found one history book we would recommend to them—until [the] just published A Young People's History of the United States. This is the edition of A People's History that we have all been waiting for.”

“Zinn's work exemplifies an approach to history that is radical, regardless of its subject or geographical location. He tells us the untold story, the story of the world's poor, the world's workers, the world's homeless, the world's oppressed, the people who don't really qualify as real people in official histories. Howard Zinn painstakingly unearths the details that the powerful seek to airbrush away. He brings official secrets and forgotten histories out into the light, and in doing so, changes the official narrative that the powerful have constructed for us. He strips the grinning mask off the myth of the benign American Empire. To not read Howard Zinn is to do a disservice to yourself.”

“[Zinn] gives a real insight in to history that is often left out of text books. Highly recommended.”

blog — November 10

The Summer that Changed America

The newest addition to the For Young People series is a gripping account of the summer that changed America.

In the summer of 1964, as the Civil Rights movement boiled over, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) sent more than 700 college students to Mississippi to help black Americans already battling segregation, voter disenfranchisement, and other Jim Crow legacies. This campaign was called “Freedom Summer.” But on the evening after volunteers arrived, three young civil rights workers went missing, presumed victims of the Ku Klux Klan.

In the days and weeks that followed, volunteers and local black activists faced intimidation, threats, and violence from white people who didn't believe African Americans should have the right to vote. As the summer unfolded, volunteers were arrested or beaten. Black churches were burned. More Americans came to Mississippi, including doctors, clergymen, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to teach the community's Freedom Schools, registering voters, and living with black people as equals. Freedom Summer brought out the best and the worst in America. The story told within these pages is of everyday people fighting for freedom, a fight that continues today. Freedom Summer for Young People is a riveting account of a decisive moment in American history, sure to move and inspire readers.

Available in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions.

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HOWARD ZINN’s (1922–2010) great subject isn’t war, but peace. After his experience as a bombardier in World War II, he became convinced that there could be no such thing as a “just war,” as the vast majority of modern warfare’s victims are made up of innocent civilians. In his books, including A People’s History of the United States and its companion volume, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, Zinn affirms the power of the masses to influence major events. Through a lifetime of pointed scholarship and principled civil disobedience, he has led and continues to lead generations in the ways of peace. Check out A Road Map to Howard Zinn's Writings Published by Seven Stories Press here.

Other books by Howard Zinn