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A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  689 ratings  ·  66 reviews
"Thank you, Howard Zinn. Thank you for telling us what none of our leaders are willing to: The truth. And you tell it with such brilliance, such humanity. It is a personal honor to be able to say I am a better citizen because of you."--Michael Moore, director of the film Fahrenheit 9/11, and author of the New York Times bestseller, Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excus ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by City Lights Publishers (first published November 30th 2006)
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Jesse Houle
People always harp on Zinn being hugely pessimistic but I think that's simply because they're uncomfortable with the idea that the happy, gift-wrapped version of American history we salute during anthems at baseball games and pledge allegiance to in elementary school is hard to recognize as flawed, incomplete and sometimes completely false.

Yes, it sucks that Columbus was a murderous asshole. And it blows that the elite class (class: the forbidden word as one of these essays calls it) has always
Kevin Cecil
As I ready myself to not only vote for Obama's re-election, but join in the campaign, Howard Zinn's final book reminds me how much I've compromised my own political thinking in the post-Bush age. In multiple chapters Zinn writes convincingly about war as nationalist terrorism; that governments factor civilian casualties as collateral damage necessary to reach their goals. While he reminds me of how far I've strayed, Obama has continued wars I voted for him thinking he would end, he has not persu ...more
Jul 30, 2007 Yeshua rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Granted, I am only five chapters into this book, but here again I find myself feeling the need say something about it before I finish. This book is a motivating force, and it should be a powerful one. Don't be sold the typical reviews of it found on this site saying that its content is "nothing new," "things you should already know," or "standard Zinn." Books like this shouldn't be subjected to comparison in any relativity to the author's past work. Simply because 'you' may have read much of the ...more
It's hard not to agree with the bulk of Zinn's sentiments here. And even the stuff I found myself disagreeing with was written eloquently and engagingly. But the agreement with one's ideas shouldn't be the basis on which we evaluate the total worth of a book, particularly when the ideas aren't presented as anything much deeper than platitudes and idealism. The premise of the book is promising, but doesn't entirely live up to that promise. We have a collection of essays loosely related, and all o ...more
Nate Jordon
Zinn, as ever, nails it. Nails what? Inspiration. Motivation.

In this work, Zinn covers the history of social movements in the US, with brief asides focusing on social movements in other countries. Once again, he makes history relevant to our modern times. Here's a few excerpts that speak much louder, and much more eloquently, than any review I could pen:

"Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag
This book should be required reading. For everyone. Zinn takes American government of today and puts it in context of yesterday. He looks at our current wars and shows how they came to be. Plenty of analysis of contemporary affairs with a splash of history, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress puts a human face on our country's actions in the world and at home.

As an American, this book with embarrass you. As a human, this book will enrage you. As an optimist, this book will depress you. But Howar
This book is much more readable than The People's History of the US. Rather than being chronological, it is more topical, comparing the current state of affairs to events in our history that were similar that we seem to have forgotten about.
Stephie Jane Rexroth
"People, when organized, have enormous power, more than any government. Our history runs deep with stories of people who stand up, speak out, dig in, organize, connect, form networks of resistance, and alter the course of history."

"There is a basic weakness in governments, however massive their armies, however vast their wealth, however they control images and information, because their power depends on the obedience of citizens, of soldiers, of civil servants, of journalists and writers and tea
Mar 24, 2008 Drick added it
Shelves: history
I love Howard Zinn's work, but this one was a bit uneven. The blurb on the back of the book makes it sound like this is an original work, but in fact this is a collection of essays he has written elsewhere and therefore is only loosely connected around the them of groups opposing abusive government power.Written against the backdrop of the war with Iraq and the Patriot Act, that shapes much of what he says.

The best parts of the book for me were the historical pieces on acts of civil disobedienc
"A Power Governments Cannot Suppress" est le genre de livre que je n'aurais probablement jamais acheté ou emprunté.

J'aurais aussi eu peu de chances de tomber dessus par hasard dans le cadre d'une vente de garage ou via un ami, puisqu'il s'agit d'un titre de City Lights Books, un éditeur alias libraire indépendant de San Francisco.

Si City Lights Books est reconnu comme une attraction touristique importante à San Francisco, tout comme à titre d'éditeur et de libraire majeur pour le développement
This book rocks. Quite literally, the essays in this book will rock the way you think about "america" and democracy. Again and again Zinn deconstructs the glory of war as it is fantasized by the media, the government and popular culture. Quoting from Eugene V. Debs on the socialist platform with Mother Jones and Big Bill in 1905 to remembering the executions of the Italian immigrants Sacco and Vanzetti Zinn makes an un deniable case against war and the horrors of war. He does this with countless ...more
Book by same guy that wrote "the people's history of the u.s."

A great book and quite timely. Zinn's method from people's history is there, but now it's focused on people's movements and what it will take now, in regards to neo-liberal, neo-con conservatives that are only interested in protecting corporate interest and how they, since the farmer revolts before the revolution war (because of government mandated pricing, to save money by pinching the farmer to cheaply feed the urban workforce) (sam
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Well it usually takes me a good while to read a Zinn but the insightful information as always, is well worth the hum drum writing style. I simply adore Zinn.

He's pretty much saying when it comes to the Republicans and the Democrats, dismissing them as working together on almost all issues that keep the powerful on top and the rest of us on the bottom. He'd prefer a Nader-like alternative, or really that people defy the state and create a better world themselves rather than seeking to do so throu
Sivananthi T
This is a must-read for those who wish to understand why governments wage wars, and why it is essential if we wish to fight terrorism or any ism in the world, waging war is the least effective way of doing this. Why an alternative reading of history, of different champions is as essential to help us create a different paradigm of viewing power, government and the world we live in.
The book as a whole is slightly repetitive because it is a collection of essays, but that does not take away from any of the inspiring, frustrating, anger-inducing points that Zinn makes. There also are many things in the book that readers may already vaguely know, but the way Zinn presents the facts takes the reader beyond just the "knowing." His examples and his writing negate the feeling of powerlessness that often comes with general knowledge about something and really inspire the reader tow ...more
Themes from Zinn's classic A People's History are interwoven with new commentary on select historical events, old and recent. 35 essays are well arranged, flowing naturally as variations on a pro-socialist, anti-war theme. They march through a variety of topics, examining the same basic issues -- democratic legitimacy, class conflict, racial justice -- through the lens of different eras and figures.

The obvious passion behind Zinn's stance adds force to his arguments. That said, if you're not alr
Gilberto Gonzalez
I think this is a fantastic and informative book. The book is a collection of essays written by the author and does not need to be read in a particular order. Although I still struggle with some of the concepts introduced by Howard Zinn, I can still see his points. Much of what he has written regarding oppression, war, and our government establishment is very much in line with my experiences as a minority-veteran who speaks out against the massive, corporate-fed, government machine. No matter yo ...more
Sam Motes
An amazing read on the power that a people United behind a cause can weld against seemingly unsurmountable odds. Zinn gives an opening view of history from the view point of the u dear dog and drives that knowledge into the dynamics of today and voices his rallying call for action.
Ashley Sasnett
I got this book from my lovely husband for my birthday. As soon as I am finished we will begin the revolution ;)UPDATE- finished it &very very good. The biggest complaint is that Zinn falls back to the same examples over and over again. I like when writers/theorists use a variety of examples to illustrate a point. But with that said, he still one of the most important voices and I get so much value from his work and (if I may engaged in a little hyperbole) I think he is national treasure.

I appreciate Zinn for being clear and up front about his idealogy and agenda, even as a historian, for social change; his passion is evident. But the way he glosses over so many particulars of history makes me wonder what he is leaving out and why, just as it does with so many of his right-wing counterparts. Nevertheless, he is good at pointing out various social ills that most people would rather just ignore, and for that he lives up to his reputation as a radical.
Este libro es muy bueno. Es un conjunto de ensayos sobre distintos episodios de la historia de Estados Unidos, desde una perspectiva humanista, pacifista y justa. Howard Zinn, es un hombre de un gran sentido moral. Y eso se ve reflejado en sus escritos. Habla de la historia real, no la de propaganda usada en los textos escolares, las películas o televisión. Es para la gente que realmente quiere saber detalles de la historia de EU sin patriotismos vanos.
Zinn challenges us to fundamentally rethink our most profound allegiances, challenges our assumptions, and ultimately provides a coherent argument for a more peaceful world through a celebration of the struggles of ordinary human beings against powers, traditions, and the apathy of the status quo.

I found the book profoundly hopeful, and felt thankful for a book that put words to feelings that I've had for years, but could not describe.
Howard Zinn flat out tells his reader that he is a biased historian because all historians are biased, all historians pick and choose a few informational tidbits from a vast sea of information, excluding so much. Each historian has a private agenda, and Zinn's is to tell American history through a different lens. I read Zinn because he helps me to put current events into historical perspective, and that's what this collection of essays does.
this book is has made me rethink my whole outlook on life...i grew up in the 60's and 70's when protesting to change the way things were done was big...Howard Zinn makes the argument that it times of hopelessness it is everyday people who can force change through protest and civil disobedience...i also learned so much history from reading this book...i recommend it to all
A wonderful collection of Howard Zinn's most insightful essays on a variety of topics from war to the civil rights movement. There's also a wonderful essay on Eugene V. Debs. This is definitely for anyone who may feel intimidated by Zinn's other books and to get a basic understanding of what he was about.
During reading this book, I felt pain in my mind several times, but I couldn't give up turning the pages of this some kind of present from Zinn.
After turning the last page of this book, I saw some certainty of a large part of uncertainty belonged to me ever. Thanks, Zinn! Rest in peace there.
Zach Freeman
Really good book about civil disobedience and government lies. More like a bunch of short essays than a solid novel with a throughline, but good stuff. Will definitely make you feel like you're not doing enough to elicit change in the country. Hopefully will motivate people to do something...
howard zinn's most candid collection of essays. he writes on a variety of subjects but with an overarching message that we've got to do better. i love this collection because it's not liberal democrat junk, it's real patriotism from a real radical whose efforts should never be forgotten.
Nikki Riles
Really informative and easy to read. Zinn offers a captivating look into the way that governments and people work. He talks about his time as a soldier, coming to the realization that war is rarely justifiable, and takes a reader on a journey through little known political history.
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Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, and social activist. He was a shipyard worker and Air Force bombardier before he went to college under the GI Bill and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He taught at Spelman College and Boston University, and was a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Bologna. He received the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs ...more
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“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”
“The pretense in disputed elections is that the great conflict is between the two major parties. The reality is that there is a much bigger conflict that the two parties jointly wage against large numbers of Americans who are represented by neither party and against powerless millions around the world." (p. 65)” 33 likes
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