A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As we all know, America is the land of the free, a land of wonder and pure accomplishments. It is the only country in the world that has never done wrong without a good reason. Or at least that’s what our political leadership wants us to think. In reality, America is a country like any other. It does good and it does bad, and if you’ve ever decided to read one of Howard Zinn’s books, you’re definitely not reading for the good. But that does not mean this book is bad. In fact, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of American Empire is a thought-provoking collection of some of America’s darkest secrets.
Journeying through its past, readers will learn of the accomplishments America does not want you to know, and the reasons for which said deeds have been pushed so far out of our view. Illustrated in the simplistic design of Mike Konopacki’s brilliant cartoons, every page is rich with flavor and emotion. The book starts with its training wheels ripped off, with Zinn putting his views at the forefront of this text, and they are quite interesting.
With our story starting at the beginning of the 21st century, we find Zinn outraged by the 9/11 bombings of the time, but not for the reasons one would normally expect. He didn’t curse the bombers or scream for some war of revenge. No he screams for a different reason altogether. He screams instead at the United States’ refusal to learn from their past. He screams, in all the honesty of his mind, that, “[The U.S. Government] learned nothing, absolutely nothing, from the [war and terrorism] of the 20th century!” (3). Zinn, of course, was commenting not on the bombings themselves, but instead the address President Bush would later give, an address that promised the bombing of the very same terrorists who bombed us. And with that, the horrors of the 20th century started once more.
“But what horrors?” You may ask. “World War 1? 2? Afghanistan?” You ask again, and while you are correct in some ways, you still misunderstand. It’s not the wars themselves that caused the 20th century’s terror. No, it was much more. The true horror of the 20th century was caused by its leaders. In particular, it was its drunk leaders. Leaders so drunk on their own power and ambitions that they would do anything to climb the social ladder. Massacres and sabotage of innocent populations was but a small fraction of their misdeeds. They were the true horrors of the 20th century, and if you wish to learn more, about America, about secrets or about the 20th century in general, then this book is for you. But don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself and discover A People’s History of American Empire. ~Student: Dan B.
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