Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A must read for Election time. -Howard Zinn

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If you like what you read below and want the first ten chapters of the book VIA online text, please subscribe to my blog. Once you have, leave a comment, and I will send an email with the text on Ms word. If you like what you read, chances are you will buy the book, like I did, twice! To make reading easier, I will post each chapter as a separate word document. I feel more people should read this book. Please note that credit to the book is given on the text itself. These should not be used for any commercial purposes.

Howard's book is a remarkable non fiction text that tells the story of America's untold heros, the workers, immigrants, activists and the oppressed. Perhaps now more than ever it is important for us to reexamine history. It tells us how government has shunned and even limited those that demanded their rights for their (governments, the elite, business , the big dogs) own selfish interests. What makes this author special is he has been actively involved in the struggles, and movements that have shaped a part of our history. I am not telling you to side against America, what I am telling you however, is to give this book a chance, and decide for yourself.

Normally people would say that I take these things way too seriously. Some may say that I bash the government and authority without out even looking at the whole story. One of my room mates made a comment "Boy, you're really against this whole America thing?" I told her that I am not Anti American, I am Anti-Totalitarian government.

I believe that a nation's history (especially ours) is not only one sided. There are multi sides that interrelate, interconnect as well as work against each other.

All during elementary and high school years, many of us were fed the lies that USA was great and was a marvelous land of opportunities. I was told as a little girl by my first grade teacher that we became friends with the Indians and had a wonderful "thanksgiving meal" Ok, so who wants to tell a first grader, that the hero that she's supposed to admire, was really a mass murderer of many Indians. What is really hard to digest is how we continue to celebrate a holiday in the name of a person who didn’t even discover America, and how we hold parades for a man that was responsible for the demise of a many Indians, and the destruction of those that did nothing to harm Colombous and his men. My Professor expressed the point that those that control, control history. As kids, have we been learning the sugar coated version of our American History? No nation is perfect, but having people only learn about one side of the spectrum is unacceptable. Yes, as a country we should teach patriotism, but not at the expense of disregarding the side of history that is hidden .

It did not matter that I got older, and was wise enough to handle the truth, no high school teacher told me. Not even history books that we were assigned to read ever gave out this gruesome info. This just does not apply to this explorer, but also to almost every authoritative figure in our government and also to those that had ties with the government. Studying a history of a nation, you realize that a stock market just doesn't "crash" and that the News Media and other sources of media will hide what they don't want the public to hear.

I would also try to convince everyone to read this book, simply because of the vast amount information and text that has been regulated and censored by our government. As Zinn mentioned in his book, "...because the mountain of history books under which we all stand leans so heavily in the other direction - so tremblingly respectful, by inattention, to people's movements--that we need some counterforce to avoid being crushed into submission"(Zinn, 631) How can one say our country is great, when one does not know the other side. Watching the news everyday does not make one an informed citizen, and neither does only reading this book make you one too. Zinn points that out in his book, but he is not at all ashamed that his book may be a biased account. Then again, what history account is not? History is not a set book of facts, its personal events and memories from people. History is passed down from words and written documents, but the validity of that history is not always accurate. Zinn points out in one of his talks on justice talking.org, that his book is not about bashing American government, but it is about people learning objectively about their nation’s history. He brought up an excellent point when he explained that one cannot understand what is happening in today’s world, without having a look at that past. The book points out evidence, that what Bush is doing is nothing new, and that presidents in the past, have misused their power.

One year of intense reading on and off, and analyzing everything this book threw at me, I was, and still am left with a lot of questions. As our nation is doomed by Bush's administration, I finally begin to understand the dirty ties of military, government, economy and the corporate world. I strongly believe that American Government has used and still does, the term Democracy to disguise their desires of an empire. I now know to question twice what I am told. No this book has not made me loathe government , but it has made me realize that you cannot always trust what government says or does.

For those that may attack this post and say this book may be nothing more than a way to attack the conservatives that have caused misfortunes for the under privileged, here is an editorial of the book., " Consistently lauded for its lively, readable prose, this revised and updated edition of A People's History of the United States turns traditional textbook history on its head. Howard Zinn infuses the often-submerged voices of blacks, women, American Indians, war resisters, and poor laborers of all nationalities into this thorough narrative that spans American history from Christopher Columbus's arrival to an afterward on the Clinton presidency.

Addressing his trademark reversals of perspective, Zinn--a teacher, historian, and social activist for more than 20 years--explains, "My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)--that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth."
If your last experience of American history was brought to you by junior high school textbooks--or even if you're a specialist--get ready for the other side of stories you may not even have heard. With its vivid descriptions of rarely noted events, A People's History of the United States is required reading for anyone who wants to take a fresh look at the rich, rocky history of America." (Amazon Editorial)


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Kavita (luvikavi)
I am a 25 year old loud mouth by my words yet soft spoken at heart. I have love affairs with new thoughts, ideas, controversies, movies, news,helping those in need and politics. If something tickles my fancy, I will blog profusely about it. The world is filled with nonsense, and writing helps me grasp the reality, whatever that may be.
I graduated from Northern with a Bachelors in Health and Human Sciences, with an emphasis in family and individual development. I hope to GOD my thousand and thousand dollars in loans has prepared me enough for Grad school which I will be venturing off into this Fall of '10. YIKES!
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