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Reading Howard Zinn


Books about Howard Zinn

“There is a power that can be created out of pent-up indignation, courage, and the inspiration of a common cause, and that if enough people put their minds and bodies into that cause, they can win. It is a phenomenon recorded again and again in the history of popular movements against injustice all over the world"
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

Reading Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn was an author, an activist and a Professor at Boston University from 1964 to 1988. Boston University Libraries has resources by Howard Zinn, from his most famous book A People's History of the United States to his one one-person play Marx in Soho.

Professor Zinn told the story of American history from the point of view of the ordinary people who lived it. His work analyzes the experience of colonialism, war, slavery, racism, discrimination, class conflict, trade unions, prisons, the death penalty, education and democracy as a scholar and a participant.

Here are some of his works and his words so that readers can decide for themselves.


Collected Writings and Speeches



United States History and Politics






Race and Civil Rights and Discrimination



Justice and Injustice 



Trade Unions and Class Conflict



From Chapter 12- Why Students Should Study History: An Interview 

"To a great extent, this moral objective is not considered in teaching history. I think people have to be given the facts of slavery, the facts of racial segregation, the facts of government complicity in racial segregation, the facts of the fight for equality. But that is not enough. I think students need to be aroused emotionally on the issue of equality. They have to try to feel what it was like to be a slave, to be jammed into slave ships, to be separated from your family. Novels, poems, autobiographies, memoirs, the reminiscences of ex-slaves, the letters that slaves wrote, the writings of Frederick Douglass- I think they have to be introduced as much as possible. Students should learn the words of people themselves, to feel their anger, their indignation. In general, I don’t think there has been enough use of literature in history. People should read Richard Wright’s Black Boy; they should read the poems of Countee Cullen; they should read the novels of Alice Walker, the poems of Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansbury’s A Raisin in the Sun. These writings have an emotional impact that can’t be found in an ordinary recitation of history.

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    "But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is... to tell the truth"  
Marx in Soho: A Play on History

A People's History of the US

“There is not a country in world history in which racism has been more important, for so long a time, as the United States.” A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present

Watch and Listen

Matt Damon reads Howard Zinn's speech:
The Problem is Civil Obedience

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