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Howard Zinn Speaks


Howard Zinn Collected Speeches 1963-2009

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This collection of his speeches on protest movements, racism, war, and topics vital to our democracy will be an invaluable resource for the new generation of students who continue to discover his work, as well as the millions of people who Howard moved and informed in his lifetime.

About the author

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, playwright, and activist. He wrote the classic A People’s History of the United States, “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those … whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories” (Library Journal). The book, which has sold more than two million copies, has been featured on “The Sopranos” and “Simpsons,” and in the film “Good Will Hunting.” In 2009, History aired The People Speak, an acclaimed documentary co-directed by Zinn, based on A People’s History and a companion volume, Voices of a People’s History of the United States. Zinn grew up in Brooklyn in a working-class, immigrant household. At 18 he became a shipyard worker and then flew bomber missions during World War II. These experiences helped shape his opposition to war and passion for history. After attending college under the GI Bill and earning a Ph.D. in history from Columbia, he taught at Spelman, where he became active in the civil rights movement. After being fired by Spelman for his support for student protesters, Zinn became a professor of Political Science at Boston University, where he taught until his retirement in 1988.

Anthony Arnove produced the Academy Award-nominated documentary Dirty Wars and wrote, directed, and produced The People Speak with Howard Zinn. He is the editor of several books, including Voices of a People’s History of the United States, which Arnove co-edited with Zinn, The Essential Chomsky, and Iraq Under Siege, and is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. He is on the editorial boards of Haymarket Books and the International Socialist Review.


“Reading Howard’s spoken words I feel that I am almost hearing his voice again. Even in writing its unique appeal comes through — his stunning pitch-perfect ability to capture the moment and the concerns and needs of the audience whoever they may be, always enlightening, often stirring, an amalgam of insight, critical history, wit, blended with charm and appeal. I’ve heard Howard speak to tens of thousands at demonstrations, to small groups of homeless people, to activists enduring brutal treatment, and at many other times and places. Always just the right tone and message, always inspiring, a gift to all of us to be treasured.”
—Noam Chomsky

“Few people changed more lives than Howard Zinn. He changed them as an author, as a play write and as a filmmaker. But he also changed them face-to-face, as a speaker. With ferocious moral clarity and mischievous humor, Howard turned routine anti-war rallies into profound explorations of state violence and he turned staid academic conferences into revival meetings for social change. Collected here for the first time, Howard’s speeches — spanning an extraordinary life of passion and principle — come to us at the moment when we need them most: just as a global network of popular uprisings searches for what comes next. We could ask for no wiser a guide than Howard Zinn.”
—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

“Howard Zinn — there was no one like him. And to hear him speak was like listening to music that you loved — lyrical, uplifting, honest. If you never got to hear him speak, this book will move you in profound ways. Although Howard’s ‘voice’ is no longer with us, his true voice will live on forever. And I know he would love it for each of you to find your voice, too, and to be heard. Perhaps this book will provide you with some inspiration.”
—Michael Moore

“Howard Zinn was one of us, the best part of us. Enjoy these speeches. Hear his voice. Then hear your own, hear it closely.”
—Josh Brolin

“One of my favorite expressions from Nicaragua is: ‘Struggle is the highest form of song.’ In that case Howard Zinn is one of our great singers and these speeches are righteous songs filled with the boldness, vision, humor, depth and urgings of his profoundly human voice. Howard sang a different America, an invisible America, an America of the 99 percent. He sang of the lies and deceit of the government and the impossibility and horror of wars made in America’s name. He sang of a dream, a deeper dream that is now rising in the streets. I cannot think of a more important set of songs to be singing at this time.”
—Eve Ensler

“Howard Zinn’s speeches, beautifully gathered together here by Anthony Arnove, are a joy and an inspiration.”
—Marisa Tomei

“Howard Zinn’s towering legacy will forever be as a historian who made history. He made history because his books, his actions, and especially his speeches inspired ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We fight onward today in a remarkable tradition of struggle. For many of us, we first became aware of this tradition by sitting in a packed, musty meeting hall and listening to stories of heart, humor, and heroism, as communicated by Howard Zinn.”
—Dave Zirin

“The first time I heard Howard Zinn speak I was a student in the deep South, and amazed that anyone could stay alive long enough to say such things. He was completely fearless, totally relaxed, making joking asides as he went straight to the bloody heart of Empire. How much time it has saved me, having him as a teacher my second year in college. Reading this book brings back memories of those times when Howie spoke to sometimes shocked crowds of people who, before hearing him, had thought historians should be silent about current affairs or, at most, write quiet books. Howard Zinn was a free man. Delightful because of this. Howard Zinn Speaks is a book to savor. It is wise, humorous, serious, without one moment of hesitation in tackling the basic notions about who we are as a people, a country, and a world. Elder brother, great teacher. Presente.”
–Alice Walker

“I hesitate to comment on Howard Zinn Speaks because of my unshakable and overt bias for anything Zinn. I don’t think it’d be fair honestly to gloat about his work in such a way. But then again having a Zinn bias just means you favor truth and justice over lies and oppression.”
–Lupe Fiasco

“These speeches make great reading for students and teachers—especially when read aloud.”
Rethinking Schools

“If you read one political book this year, make it this one. It will make you believe in democracy again.”

Additional information

Weight 0.440000 kg