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A Young People's History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,100 ratings  ·  104 reviews
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. A Young People's History of the United States is also a companion volume to The People Speak, the film adapted from A People's History of the Uni ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Triangle Square (first published January 1st 1983)
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Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Somehow I never got around to reading Zinn's original work, and I've mentioned in another review how my U.S. history education was lacking in some respects. So when I was browsing through the kids' section of the bookstore for books to donate and spied this, I picked it up. (I didn't donate it because they were seeking books like The Hungry Caterpillar. Kids that young probably aren't ready for Zinn, no matter how much they've adjusted the reading level.) I knew about Zinn's book by reputation, ...more
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I LOVED THIS BOOK!. I am read it for school and it is a bit harsh sometimes, but its true. Howard Zinn tells it from the point of view of the slaves. It goes from, Columbus and the Indians to The war in Iraq. in 422 Pages and 26 chapters. Very well written and a MUST READ BOOK!
Hope You Read This Book.
Martin V
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Zinn tells history from the point of view of the powerless. This is a very important perspective and exercise. However, his famous lack of neutrality leads to facile and perverse political conclusions.

Zinn's anti-establishment instincts frequently lead him to overshoot in a dangerously utopian direction. For example, while lamenting the conditions of the disenfranchised poor in early 20th century America, he lionizes the Russian Revolution as some kind of moral achievement - of course, "the peo
Jul 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Well, VF, since you asked for my opinion, here it is.

First of all, the audience for this book is "young people," but I would suggest that "young people" is closer to upper middle school/YA readers. Younger readers would most likely lack the background knowledge to make much sense of the more modern history and since this is a somewhat reactive history, I think it would be good for your reader to know what exactly Zinn is reacting to IYKWIM.

The Columbus chapter is a good one to consider, but bea
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If you are looking for an up-lifting history of America full of heroes and accomplishments look elsewhere. This book is much different and can be kind of an eye-opening downer if you are a fan of most history books taught in schools today. Much like the adult version only a little more plainly spoken, this book gives you a look at the lives of the Indians, women, African Americans and the poor in the making of America through the 20th century and most often their lives were devastatingly cruel a ...more
Tina Bui
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that should be required reading for all students in American schools and those studying United States history. This version is a young reader edition, catered to middle grade students, which makes for an easier understanding of the number of events, starting from the 'founding' of America and ending with the war on terror.

Even though this is a history book, so many events and incidences are completely relevant to today's America; if you changed the names, dates and locations, one
Will Solace
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at Barnes and Noble because I love history and I wanted to learn more about it.

By the time I got home, I had read all about Columbus and despised the man.

This book is so far from mainstream it is out of the stream entirely and is now starting it's own city.

I have always loved the idea of MORE. MORE sides to the story. One MORE puzzle piece.

This book has made it's own puzzle.

It truly exposes everything that happens and shows how we reacted. History books leave this all
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
We did it.

This is the young version of the full book that I read earlier. It had the same information (although his edition was newer than the one I read, so it came closer to the current time at the end than mine did) but trimmed down a bit with fewer examples and details. It mostly left out the most violent descriptions from the adult volume, although there was one segment when I stopped reading and just said "I'm not going to read you that description" and skipped on.

Still, even trimmed dow
Ami Pendley
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am teaching US History for the first time this fall. I have been given a class set of very expensive glossy new textbooks by my district which are best described as soporifics. If I want to bore my students to death or put them all to sleep so I can answer my emails, I will assign a chapter and its uninspiring questions at the end. Howard Zinn's masterpiece is too much for my 8th graders, but this adaptation by Rebecca Stefoff is a treasure. It captures all the important themes from A People's ...more
Vannessa Anderson
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth-children
A Young People's History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror left no stone unturned when teaching actual American History.

A few things I learned

1) Christopher Columbus was a mass murdered, a slave trader, a slaver and a sadist
2) Whites believed blacks were not their equals
3) Children started the first mill strike in Paterson, New Jersey
4) Rockefeller made secret deals with railroad companies to ship his oil at lower rates
5) President Grover Cleveland sold out the American peopl
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It has been a while since I read Zinn's A People's History but this really does seem like a shortened and slightly simplified version. This reminds me how thing change but remain the same, bouncing slightly back and forth over the years. It is saddening that I feel we are going less in the direction of a more fair economy and treatment of people than when I read the original.
John Senner
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If history is the stories we tell ourselves about the past, Howard Zinn will give you a whole new set of stories.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-blog
Howard Zinn lived a left of center life. This is a left of center book. It's adapted from the adult version “A People’s History of the United States.” Let me say at the outset that this book would be best suited for kids from liberal families. This book would also be best suited for kids who have already studied the basics of American history because, I suspect as part of the adaptation, bits and pieces of events are left out so a neophyte in American history might become confused.

Zinn is intere
Alice Zhao
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book reminds me a lot of familiar teachings in my school in China. Every historical event was analyzed based on economic change and class conflict. We were taught that the world history is a continuous struggle against oppression, and every revolution was applauded. I appreciate the author bravely present this idea to the Americans. However, coming from China and having been in the US for years, I probably prefer a more peaceful and progressive way to address social injustice. Eventual, all ...more
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have to say, I was quite shocked to learn that there are people who accuse this book of supporting a communist agenda, and being extreme-leftist. Howard Zinn (the author) expresses that his point of view is criticizing to 'war, racism, and economic injustice', and I think that a description of this book along those lines seems accurate enough. It's a great young-adult version of A People's History of the United States, and serves as a good companion piece for younger readers.

There are certain
Scooping it Up
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
five pages in and feeling "YESSSSS!!" this is exactly what I want to facilitate discussion while teaching US history with my kids. I want to talk about different view points and perspectives and while I might personally not love the light in which certain events in history are detailed here, I certainly believe we all should be able to look at them with different eyes. I think this will be great tool. A fantastic addition to our home school arsenal.
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must read for children and adults.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I believe that history can help us imagine new possibilities for the future. One way it can do this is by letting us see the hidden parts of the past, the times when people showed us they could resist the powerful, or join together. Maybe our future can be found in the past’s moments of kindness and courage rather than its centuries of warfare” writes Howard Zinn. I have been interested in Zinn’s perspective on American history for a while and was thrilled to learn about the young people’s vers ...more
Sheila Bracken
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m not even sure how to rate this book. It does not compare to the history books I was given to study throughout my student career. All of those books told history from the perspective of rich, white men. I never noticed the disparity and never thought to question it until much later. It also tells of events most students never hear about unless they read on their own because the curriculum is narrow in its focus. I’ve spent a lifetime filling in gaps with the stories of time periods that inter ...more
Gabriela Montes
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! Even though it seemed like a bit of a chore to read at times, like most non-fiction things are for me, it snapped me out of a trance that I had been in my whole life. I had known some of the mistakes made and hidden truths that were in the book, I discovered more things that had my parents had never bothered to tell me. For instance, I didn't know that President Andrew Jackson made deals with several Native American tribes and then just backed out, stole their land ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The truth can be an illusive and elusive aspect of reading about the history of the U.S. In Rebecca Stefoff's adaptation of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the U.S., a people centered not status quo centered picture of the past is painted for the young reader. For those looking to read a point of view other than that presented in the traditional textbooks presented to our youth, or seeking to share this unusual point of view with young people, this is the book to begin with. I highly recomm ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
History from the people's perspective is a brilliant way to make history relevant again. History is based on factual events, but the historians present a subjective analysis of these events, which leaves readers in a bit of a quandary, how much of this interpretation should we take with a pinch of salt? Zinn's presents his version of history from the point of view of the oppressed, black and white slaves, women and Mexicans, fighting for their rights against a very opportunistic and selfish elit ...more
Eddy Gardiner
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook while I've been slowly working my way through the original unabridged text. This version is certainly more digestible, but I still worry it's not the sort of book to be picked up by younger readers when people like Zoella are on the shelves.

There's no denying Zinn is telling a story from one perspective - the underprivileged, the slaves, the lower class, the women - and rallying for them against the corporations and warmongers and ill-balanced capitalism, but he's ve
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an important view on US history. The US is technically a republic but is it practically a republic.
The US has been mainly governed conservatively and cautiously, under the motto "if ain't broken don't fix it, and if it starts leaking just plug until the leak stops". Overall, we are living in the times when too many plugs have taken place, and the system is ready to fall apart.

From ancient times rules have adopted a basic strategy. Keep the people busy so that they do not rebel. Keep peo
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When you learn history, for instance in a classroom or from a friend, it is full of biases and one-sided perspectives. In short, history is taught from the winners, the colonizers and the ones that have profited from it. Because of that, we tend to forget that history is the sum of the millions of nameless people that lived during that time and the rulers are only one of them. A Young People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn teaches us about the history of America through the lens of ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
"A historian must pick and choose among facts deciding which ones to put into his or her work, which ones to leave out, and which ones to place at the center of the story. Every historian's own ideas and beliefs go into the way he or she writes history. In turn, the way history is written can shape the ideas and beliefs of the people who read it." -p. 12

I thought this was an excellent book and should be paired reading with all textbooks used to teach American history in schools today. Looking ba
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I usually don't like non-fiction but this was a great book. I love the way it was told and the pure truth of what America is built on. From the very beginning, we have done terrible things. In textbooks, America is shown as an amazing country that has nothing wrong with it. In real life what had happened in America, the stuff that the government has done and then what the people of America have done to stand up against the terrible things that that has happened. Since the beginning, people have ...more
I had previously read Howard Zinn's A People's History Of The United States and this young adult's version is the required reading this summer for my daughter's 8th grade Humanities courses this upcoming school year. This book is still potent and just as in depth as the adult version. Viewing Columbus as bringer of disease and committing genocide in the New World instead of him being exalted as just an explorer. It also gives a more realistic versions of slavery, the wave of immigrants and the s ...more
Lauren Reed
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I plan on using this as an additional resource to my 6th grader’s year studying the first half of US History- we’ll also be using Joy Hakim’s Story of US. The two together reinforce each other. I, like Zinn, don’t believe in sugar coating history. The truth is best told early and with compassion for the stories of those who actually lived through it and through the viewpoints not often told in standard history text books- immigrants, women, people of color, the poor. 4* because I wish it went in ...more
CL De Rekla Zykrona
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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

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