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A People's History of American Empire

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  2,044 Ratings  ·  238 Reviews
Adapted from the bestselling grassroots history of the United States, the story of America in the world, told in comics form

Since its landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies, become required classroom reading throughout the country, and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Metropolitan Books (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 22, 2010 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000s, history
So, if there is a god, he/she/it/they doesn't hold my intellect in very high esteem.

He/she/it/they must think I'm an idiot.

See, a while back, I reserved Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and what I ended up arriving on the holds shelf was the children's version, complete with funny illustrations to try and walk teenagers through the theory of relativity. Now, I thought I had placed a hold on A People's History of the United States, and I ended up with this graphic novel.

It's qu
Sarah Maddaford
I didn't put it down because I disagreed with the presentation of history (although I do think it is a bit harsh). I put it down because it is a large book filled with a single version of historical events. While I do not think that the author is anti-America or anti-American, he is certainly anti-establishment, anti-expansionist, and rather bitter. He served in the military, which gives him more right to be upset with American foreign policy and military action (in my opinion). If I sat down wi ...more
Jul 21, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't dispute that much of what is presented here is factual. I would however dispute that ALL of the facts are being presented. I understand that those who believe in "radical" politics feel that their viewpoints have been massively underrepresented - but that doesn't give you a pass on dealing with historical facts that don't support your overarching thesis.

This is a polemic on American imperialism rather than an alternative look at American history... and that impression is reinforced by th
Nov 15, 2013 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovingly constructed version of Zinn's A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present that leaves me wanting to dive into Zinn's entire bibliography. With Zinn as the ever-present narrator (with guest lectures from the likes of Mark Twain, OMG), I was thoroughly entertained, and informed. I had never understood the Spanish-American War before, for whatever reason. But, laying it out in a graphic novel format finally brought me understanding, along with increased understanding of conf ...more
Dec 15, 2008 Erok rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
starting with mad magazine, then to the "big book" series, moving onto the "beginners" series, then onto other types of graphic novels and interpretations, the genre and pop-education in general has fascinated me for awhile. This is an amazing addition to the genre, although as a pop-ed tool, the rhetoric may be a bit too much for many people not versed in radical theory, ideology, or thought. i considered getting this for my dad for xmas, but then realized he may be a bit turned off from it and ...more
Jul 23, 2010 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
A real disappointment. As a historian, probably I was hoping for too much, but I thought that the attempt to mix history and graphics could be interesting. It was not. Graphically the book was bland, historically it was highly tendentious, and as a work of literature it was poorly written and executed. Zinn is not a nuanced historian, this is understood from the get-go, but his flaws in distorting and simplifying a complex past for explicit political purpose are even more pronounced here because ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a graphic novel adaptation of Zinn’s famous history book, “A People’s History of the United States.”

It doesn’t cover everything in “A People’s History...”, but starts with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890, when American soldiers killed or wounded 300 Native Americans in about an hour. In the 1890’s, America was going through a depression, so a foreign enemy was needed against which to rally the public (along with finding new markets to exploit). The Cuban Revolution was attempting to th
May 27, 2009 Sonic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book! Going far far beyond the "official" versions of almost all historical events of America's imperialistic activities, this book finally tells it from the people's side. Yes "history" is written by the victors, even when the victors sought out and created the conflicts in the first place. Americans have been fed a long line of bullshit from day one! This book, while not going into too much detail about any one event (see the bibliography people! If you want to dig de ...more
Emilia P
May 17, 2010 Emilia P rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-books
Two probs. Number one: The illustration style of this was hodgepodge, photo-collage/artsy/basic-routine all mixed up, with not that much attention to the effect of the switches on pacing, mood etc. So that was annoying.
Problem two: Uh, I don't like this narrative of history. It was like wars of empire are bad, so here are the violent things people did to try to stop them, or the papers they stole from the government to prove how bad they were. There were a few hopeful words here and there,
Dec 30, 2012 Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful graphic novel, condensing the book "A People's History of the United States" into a medium that opens the material and topic contained to a different audience. Covering alternate viewpoints of historical events in an American context, "A People's History of American Empire" looks at history from the 'losers' side, if one were to frame history into a model of winners and losers in order to use the quote "History is written by the winners." The graphic novel is a good read for ...more
Jul 06, 2010 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At one time I thought that graphic novels or graphic adaptations were rather childish and not true literature. This is the third one I have read and it is the best. It was very powerful and thought provoking. I think that the illustrations made an even more powerful statement than the written word. This book tells the history of the American Empire, but more from the point of view of the losers rather than the winners. It gives the "behind the scene" story of many of the wars and conflicts the U ...more
Okay, we all studied US history. Zinn's versions are always nuanced. Don't laugh because this one is a comic book -- it is GREAT. I gave my copy to Paul Rusesabagina, of Hotel Rwanda fame, for he and his kids.

This one doesn't leave out those blots on our white-washed versions of history where our leaders conned the people or just oppressed the people and there was injustice and un-American activities alright.

You will love it. Give it to all your younger sibs and relatives.
Donkeykonguk Forero
Sep 17, 2008 Donkeykonguk Forero rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: David Thomas
A heartbreaking and devastating history of America's imperial history, which will seem strangely similar to current events. Manufactured provocations, vicious cruelty, and utter hypocrisy abound. Told in a simple comic book style, this is a heartfelt plea from Zinn to all Americans to take a closer look at the often anti-democratic, inhumane, and even sickening behavior of their government.
Who says comic books aren't educational? Who says education is boring? This is the comic book version of classic 'People's History of the United States'. Comic books are the gateway to loving reading. This type of comic book is the gateway to loving truth.
Oct 04, 2009 Tone rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, history
Yes, a lot of horrible things were done in the name of the US. But after a few chapters the tone of this book became "only bad things have been done in the name of the US".
This is kinda like a distilled version of A People's History, with a bit of Zinn's autobiography thrown in, but in graphic novel form! So awesome! It's a quick read but very fun.
Dec 20, 2016 Meepelous rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The first thing that I feel obliged to tell everyone is that this is a much easier read than I every anticipated. A challenging and thought provoking read certainly, but compared to many other political (and none political) comics I have struggled to slog through, this one was extremely accessible. The panels are even a bit on the too big side really, but this means the art and text were extremely clear and easy to follow. The text blocks never got too overly-long, and the pacing kept things mov ...more
Oct 24, 2016 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel is based on the book "A People's History of the United States" by progressive academic Howard Zinn. It essentially looks at the development of the United States as an empire builder driven by the military-industrial complex. It certainly makes its case - albeit with huge dabs of conspiracy theory. The latter undermine it - especially given the current U.S. political climate, in which people Zinn would have no time for see conspiracy everywhere.

As a graphic novel it is entertai
Alyssa Ramsden
Nov 27, 2016 Alyssa Ramsden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a graphic adaptation of Zinns novel. It shows the history of American imperialism and government corruption and intervention. Helpful to understand seemingly complicated scandals in our history. Another book I wished I'd read in high school.
Dec 05, 2016 Karla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This gave me a completely different look on the United States, it's hard not being angry at this country for what they did to so many people; but it is and has always been a land of hope.
Billy Brooks
Dec 14, 2016 Billy Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Analysis on point..
Paul Schulzetenberg
This is a retelling of A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present in comic book form, with an emphasis on American foreign policy that downright imperial. And we're not talking classic American soft power here, where we send Coke and McDonald's in order to get people to buy American products in an effort to spread our cultural values. Rather, we're talking about a cynical examination of American international actions like the Spanish-American war, Manifest Destiny, Iran Contra, and ...more
Oct 22, 2016 Lia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe if more people would be forced to read this is in middle school, we wouldn't have so many Trump supporters milling about.
Jan 20, 2016 Book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, faction, english
"A People's History of American Empire" is a fantastic comic-book adaptation of "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn for many readers one of the best critical history of United States from 1492 until these days.

The comic book as a form is a great way to deliver a message, combining text, cartoons, photos and history documents making it dynamic and really interesting. For 2008 edition author is accompanied by historian editor Paul Buhle and book was illustrated by Mike Konopac
Mar 16, 2015 Nshslibrary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As we all know, America is the land of the free, a land of wonder and pure accomplishments. It is the only country in the world that has never done wrong without a good reason. Or at least that’s what our political leadership wants us to think. In reality, America is a country like any other. It does good and it does bad, and if you’ve ever decided to read one of Howard Zinn’s books, you’re definitely not reading for the good. But that does not mean this book is bad. In fact, Howard Zinn’s A Peo ...more
Alex Telander
A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF AMERICAN EMPIRE BY HOWARD ZINN, MIKE KONOPACKI, AND PAUL BUHLE: Activist, author, and teacher Howard Zinn is probably best known for the consistently bestselling A People’s History of the United States, with the help of writer Mike Konopacki and artist Paul Buhle, now presents A People’s History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation. With the popularity of books like Persepolis, 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, and Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, the genre of jour ...more
Aj Laberinto
The Cold War is no more. Left in the midst of that contest for global maneuvering is the United States of America. There maybe the United Nations but it is under the shadow of the Americans where we all find ourselves.
Justice, freedom and equality for all. These are what they are said to stand for. But does it include us non-Americans?
'A People's History of American Empire' is a graphic novel written and drawn by Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle based on the American historical writings and person
Sep 26, 2008 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Konopacki and Buhle loosely base their graphic novel on Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, using a cartoon Zinn as the narrator of the most wincing episodes in America’s thirst and hunger for empire. Their targets include the internal conflicts of the U.S. (women’s suffrage, anti-labor efforts, the massacre at Wounded Knee, the Civil Rights era) as well as external ones (the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Vietnam, the multifarious conflicts in both the Middle East and La ...more
Feb 17, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most effective part of this book is Zinn's own story of growing up as the son of immigrants, working to help build the USS Iowa, becoming a tailgunner on a WWII bomber crew, and eventually developing his growing sense that America was creating its own military empire, under FDR. His realization eventually leads him to go back to the roots of American imperialism, and this drive which always seems to be pushed by the lust for power and fed with lies.

The book illustrates, using simple graphic
Feb 14, 2012 Frank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels

This could be a much better book/resource with just a little more care. I realize that people will always feel they have to argue "further" than their point in order to drag people a little way towards the "truth", and maybe they're right, but it always strikes me as unfortunate.

It's a great exposure for people who view their country as a pure-hearted paladin, but a few things irked me.

Some are small, like neglecting to put in hard data in obvious places.

But others are quite large.
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Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, and social activist. He was a shipyard worker and a bombardier with the U.S. Army Air Force in Europe during the Second World War before he went to college under the GI Bill and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Zinn taught at Spelman College and Boston University, and was a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Bolo
More about Howard Zinn...

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