I have been looking for a while for a good book about US history, a kind of American history for Dummies. Between Christopher Colombus, the Conquest of the Far West and Neil Armstrong on the moon, some episodes were missing. Some of my friends recommended me to read A people’s history of the United States, but this book was almost 1,000 pages and I wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about that. And eventually, I bought it and started reading it. I’ve only read a few pages, I was already completely caught up.
This book was published in the US in 1980, has been republished 5 times, and translated in many languages – French included. More than 2 millions copies have been sold. So I am not talking to you about some unknown book that I’ve found in an obscure bookstore, nope, it’s a best-seller. But the history I read in this book isn’t the official and well-know history of the United States. The author, Howard Zinn, let the people talk, the one you usually don’t hear – or even don’t care: Black people, Women, socialists, Indians, etc. It’s some kind of unofficial history book that schools don’t provide for their students, that tell stories you don’t really want to know about.
It’s a fascinating social and critical history that don’t take for granted all the myths about the US – that still exist nowadays: the American dream, the melting pot, the success for anybody who wants it and works for it. Nope. The author just kills these bright ideas by explaining how there were built throughout the centuries, and there are nothing less true than them.
Reading this unknown stories about the US make this country even more interesting for me. We used to say that there’s no history in this young country, and this book shows the exact opposite, as sad and dramatic it could be.
A people’s history of the United States, by Howard Zinn. Have you read this book? Did you like it? How much do you know about this history of the United States?