A classic since its original landmark publication in 1980, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is the first scholarly work to tell America's story from the bottom up - from the point of view of, and in the words of, America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers.
From Columbus to the Revolution to slavery and the Civil War - from World War II to the election of George W. Bush and the "War on Terror" - A People's History of the United States is an important and necessary contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history.
©2009 Howard Zinn; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"Zinn's work is a vital corrective to triumphalist accounts." (Publishers Weekly)
I was looking forward to listening to this audiobook, but as I worked my way through it, the horrible production quality ruined the experience for me.
Jeff Zinn's narration is fantastic, the subject matter interesting, but there are numerous spots where the audio editor chopped off half of a word. On a long car trip, these jarring "jump cuts" were too much to tolerate. Did nobody quality-check this audiobook before releasing it?
This has to be the most poorly produced audiobook of all time. With a work of this length - roughly 35 hours - I understand there are several challenges in putting everything together, but here it's like whoever was doing the recording wasn't even trying. Consider. 1) Starting sometime between the 90 minute and 2 hour mark, a number of obvious and jarring cuts, with the narrator dropping out suddenly, and then resuming speech in the middle of a different sentence. This issue seems to settle down after roughly the 5 hour mark. 2) Different audio levels for different recording sessions. After a cut, the narrator returns notably louder or quieter, and with a different level of white noise in the background. 3) At the 5 hour and 46 minute mark, the narrator says "hold on", and then engages in a conversation with the recording engineer, and this was never edited out of the final product. This means the publishers didn't listen to this audiobook even one time for quality control before putting it out in the wild. Shameful, and this is a product of unacceptably low quality. 2 stars for the wealth of content and Jeff Zinn's effort in recording well over 30 hours of speech, but minus 3 stars for a final product that could have been put together better by a motivated middle schooler.
I write only in regard to the production of the audiobook, not as to the text itself, which is great and worthy. The slovenliness of the recording, with gaps, repeats, and periods where the reader is obviously having a conversation with a third party (editor? recording technician?) are beyond the minor and forgivable. Are these things not edited? Vetted by quality control? Does no one bother to listen to an audiobook before it is mass-produced and distributed? If no one at the publisher does, then someone at Audible ought to.
This is a very good thesis, but so poorly read, its painful.
One can even hear the narrator making unedited commentary within the body of the story. He often sounds like he is tired and out of breath. I think they were very stingy and cheap to have this man narrate the book...I feel like I wasted my money because I cannot listen to another sentence from the inept narrator. -0 stars...
I really wish I could return this audio book...REALLY POORLY NARRATED.
Say something about yourself!
Few books have stirred such patriotic feelings in me. It's wonderful to to live in a country, that, despite its flaws, allows a book that goes against the grain of the "accepted narrative" to be printed.
Many will accuse Zinn of being biased, but that is the point. History is, by its nature, biased from a point of view. Zinn is writing a People's history, telling events from the points of view that have long been silenced. Anyone offended by this would be better suited for less literate works by gaseous pundits that bolster weak arguments rather than challenge the mind.
It is true that the audio book should have been edited before release. I noted one long swatch of narrative that was repeated (Were there long omissions? I may never know). Also entertaining was a long sound check that showed fascinating insights into the workings of the audiobook recording industry. However, the errors are few and shouldn't detract from an otherwise fascinating and vital work.
I was hesitant to purchase this book due to some of the reviews regarding the narration. The Narrator was not as bad as some have said in my opinion but he was not great. This is a wonderful book and it is the book that carries the "meh" performance.
This book is bias but openly so. Zinn tells you at the beginning that he is going to tell you a bias history. He tells the story from the point of view of the poor, repressed and downtrodden.
I really enjoyed the stories and characters that I was able to learn about. Very touching stories. Sometimes sad but often stories of great people that tried to change the world for the better.
Winston Churchill said that "History is written by the victors". This book is told from the losers side. Very well written and read. If you are interested in the truth about history, you should give this book a listen.
Thanks for making this classic work available on audio. A wonderful job of reading-except for a few audio editing errors(minute 347 on part I and minute 172 on part II).
While offering a solid history of race relations in the US, the book takes on such a negative and ultimately biased tone on all other matters that one wonders that we're not still stuck in the 1700's. Apparently all social progress in the United States has been propelled by some mystical process unrelated to any actions by the American leaders, including even Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, or JFK. The author is guilty of bending history to support his thesis; the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were "atrocities", while the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a natural response to America's aggressive Imperialism (paraphrasing); the interment of Japanese Americans was rightly referred to as one of America's darkest hours, but no mention is made of the brutality of the Japanese military, and bare mention is made of the actions of Nazi Germany. Clearly one has to take into account contemporary events in judging the actions of the war-time political leaders of the Country, but this is ignored by the author because it does not support his overall theme. And after WW-II, the author's contention is that the insurrection in the Philippines, brutally put down by American forces, was overwhelmingly supported by the Filipinos, and yet today's respect and admiration shown by the Filipino population belies the claim of the universality of this so-called support.
You will leave this book with the feeling that no American president or Congress ever did a single thing for the good of the American people; instead, every act of social progress was a result of the politicians and their bedmates, the "rich", giving an inch to avoid having a mile taken by violent rebellion. Somehow, by an amazing set of coincidences, the wealthy managed to stay just ahead of this simmering explosion, giving exactly the bare minimum in the way of concessions to the working class, always to retain, rather than to share, their power.
Yes. Histories, as opposed to historical novels, are definitely better read than listened to.
Well, there's not much you can do with a straight history, I guess. The performer TRIES to avoid droning, but in a book light on spoken parts, it is difficult to remain fully engaged. This is one book better off read than listened to.
If I were to recommend this book (and I did give it a 3 of 5 star rating), it would be for its one true strength, an honest assessment of race relations from the Colonies to present day.
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