Laura's Reviews > You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train by Howard Zinn
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's review
Nov 06, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: biographies
Recommended for: anyone interested in civil rights mvt, looking for inspiration in dark political times

Howard Zinn has been a hero of mine since I read People's History when I was an undergrad.

Lest we forget, it was not long ago that people were being beaten, shot and hauled off to prision for-- wanting to vote-- for-- wanting equal rights. Zinn tells his personal account of the Civil Rights era, what he saw, how small acts built momentum, and why we should not give up in the face of apparent 'impossibility.' He documents personal and larger social history, drawing a picture of inspiring people, who made sacrafices in tough times, and made a difference.

The last two paragraphs of this book are copied and pasted inside my bathroom cabinet where I can see it everday.


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message 1: by Heidi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:46PM) (new)

Heidi Thanks for the recommendation, Laura. Would love to know what those last 2 paragraphs are, but won't be visiting your bathroom for the next little while. Can you post them here? Or courier over your cabinet?
All good wishes, Heidi

message 2: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura Hopefully it doesn't breech some copyright...

last two paragraphs from Mr. Zinn:
"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -and there are many- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

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