“A People’s History of the United States”

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Finally. Finished this lengthy tome today. My youngest sister recommended this book to me a couple of years ago. About a month ago I picked up a copy and found it to be fascinating.

The author, historian Howard Zinn, sets out to write American History from the perspective of people other than the “winners”. By “winners” I refer to men of wealth and/or political power, you know the men we learn most about in grade school history class.

Zinn is a gifted storyteller and if half of what he states in this book is historically accurate, much is to be lamented about this country’s history. Nay, the history of the entire world.

Throughout the book Zinn (a socialist) sees capitalism as a great evil which has caused much of the ills throughout American history. While I agree with Zinn that human history has been, for the most part, a big mess I attribute it not to an economic/political model but to man’s fallen nature.

Anyone else read this book?

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4 Responses to “A People’s History of the United States”

  1. freevolition says:

    No I have not read it. So why am I responding? Well, just to say that the Bible is anti-socialist and pro free market capitalism. Gary North offers some insight into these Biblical truths here –> http://www.garynorth.com/public/department57.cfm

    So what was your impression? Do you believe the author presented nothing but facts, and if so were they presented in a biased manner in your opinion?

    Yes, even capitalism can be abused by people with power lust or greed (due to the sinful nature of mankind, as you’ve already mentioned). Socialism can most certainly be abused as well. It is not the panacea for a sinful world. Far from it, in my humble opinion. I view socialism as a stroke of genius straight from Satan himself. But then… he IS the master of deceit.

  2. Laz says:

    Pro free market capitalism? I don’t know free, take a look at Acts 2:42-47

    They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
    Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    Admittedly, this isn’t socialism either but it’s hard to see how it’s capitalism.

    Zinn declares in the book that there are no such things as facts. He doesn’t see bias as a bad thing, he says as much throughout the book. I don’t really buy 100% what we were taught in school regarding US History but neither do I buy Zinn’s “facts” 100% either.

    It’s clear Zinn has an ax to grind and he does so with gusto, which leads one to tire of it by the time he gets to the Gilded Age. Kept thinking to myself, OK I get it Prof., poor good, rich bad, very similar to four legs good, two legs bad of Orwellian fame. Then again Orwell was satirizing socialism.

    That’s my point that any human system of government (esp. theocracy, as if…) can be corrupted, why? Because humans are corrupt, there’s no use getting around this one.

  3. freevolition says:

    The Book of Acts is the socialists’ favorite book in the New Testament. This is because Acts 2 and Acts 4 record that the church in Jerusalem owned property in common. – quote from Gary North

    So it is not surprising that you referred to the book of Acts, Laz. But pooling resources of Jerusalen’s church members was entirely voluntary, and there is NO record of any other church in the New Testament that did this. This was a unique experience that occurred during the transitional phase from Old Covenant to New Covenant. There are quite a few unique occurrences in the book of Acts.

    There are actually far, far more scriptural references to free enterprise. This does not preclude charity, however. When we focus on that which is most important (Jesus Christ), and receive blessings in the form of wealth (only one of many forms of blessings), we are to allow our blessings to spill over to the less fortunate.

    Socialism is a form of dictating morality, which is evil, bureaucratic and enforced by fallible man. God gave us free will. Man becomes arrogant when he thinks he can improve upon God’s plan. There simply will be no utopia until His second advent.

    Yep, you’re right… no getting around that one.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I loved this book. It’s a much more alive take on history than most history books I’ve read.

    If you liked it, you might also like this recent speech by Zinn:
    http://socialistworker.org/2009/03/13/standing-for-justice

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