Voices of a People's History
Voices of a People's History


November 11, 2014

Voices of a People’s History of the United States, 10th Anniversary Edition

Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove

Here in their own words are Frederick Douglass, George Jackson, Chief Joseph, Martin Luther King Jr., Plough Jogger, Sacco and Vanzetti, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Mark Twain, and Malcolm X, to name just a few of the hundreds of voices that appear in Voices of a People’s History of the United States, edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.

Paralleling the twenty-four chapters of Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, Voices of a People’s History is the long-awaited companion volume to the national bestseller. For Voices, Zinn and Arnove have selected testimonies to living history—speeches, letters, poems, songs—left by the people who make history happen but who usually are left out of history books—women, workers, nonwhites. Zinn has written short introductions to the texts, which range in length from letters or poems of less than a page to entire speeches and essays that run several pages. Voices of a People’s History is a symphony of our nations original voices, rich in ideas and actions, the embodiment of the power of civil disobedience and dissent wherein lies our nations true spirit of defiance and resilience.

For this updated 10th Anniversary Edition, new voices include Chelsea Manning, speaking after her 35-year prison sentence; Naomi Klein, speaking from the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park; a member of the Dream Defenders, a youth organization that confronts systemic racial inequality; a member of the Undocumented Youth Movement; a member of the Day Laborers movement; Chicago Teachers Union strikers and other education justice activists; and journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Praise for Voices of a People’s History of the United States

—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

“Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove have recently written and edited a wonderful new book, Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Seven Stories Press, 2004). It should be on every bookshelf, alongside your underlined and highlighted copy of A People’s History of the United States. It is a remarkable collection of documents from the rich tradition of struggle in the United States, from the resistance to the conquest of the Americas in the era of Columbus through the protests today of soldiers and their families against the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The book’s theme is well summed up by its epigraph from the abolitionist Frederick Douglass: ‘If there is no struggle there is no progress. . . . This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’”
—Arundhati Roy, author, The God of Small Things

“Voices follows Zinn’s classic A People’s History of the United States, chapter by chapter. It features speeches, songs, diary excerpts, poems, newspaper articles, and personal narratives illustrating themes in Zinn’s earlier book…. Zinn and Arnove bring [ordinary people’s] aspirations alive in this stunning new volume. And in so doing they help us attempt to bring these aspirations alive in our classrooms.”
— Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools

“Compelling and indispensable. . . . Zinn and Arnove’s potent collection is a much-needed wake-up call. . . . With hundreds of pieces from voices as diverse as Thomas Paine, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Leonard Peltier, Michael Moore, and many, many more, Voices of a People’s History of the United States should be required reading for every individual lucky enough to call America home.”
—Scott Thill, Salon.com

“[T]he special strength of this book is the way in which Zinn and Arnove weave many movements into a single compelling history. Essential.”

“[A]n impressive companion volume to [Zinn’s] A People’s History of the United States.”
—Kliatt, starred review (“exceptional”).

“In Voices of a People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn has given us our true story, the ongoing, not-so-secret narrative of race and class in America.”
—Russell Banks

“This volume is a reader’s treasure trove of original documents that supplement the famed People’s History. . . . The choices are so wide, varied, rich, and, more often than not, so heart-rending. Voices really captures the voices as if they were speaking right to us over the years and all the differences. It calls on us to add our own voices and, quite apart from its value as a learning tool, that may be its greatest contribution.”
—Paul Buhle, Z magazine

“Comprised of more than 200 source documents, Voices is a vast anthology that tells heartbreaking and uplifting stories of American history…. But amidst the nightmares from which we are still trying to awake, Zinn and Arnove offer moments of hope and triumph; after all, there have been quite a few successful mass movements in our county’s past. The theme that emerges is that of individuals struggling against much larger forces, sometimes alone, sometimes as part of larger mass movements, knowing that whether they succeed or not, they have no choice but to fight…. Voices of a People’s History is a welcome reminder that our struggle is larger and longer than one president, or one war, and that speaking out in dissent has a long and glorious history.”
—In These Times

“[A]s a teacher … I spent the decades since Zinn’s [A People’s History of the United States] came out wishing he had published a companion volume with all of the documents to which he alluded in the history book. This is that document book…. [I]nstead of one history, there are multiple stories told — stories told from different perspectives than we are accustomed to hearing…. [A] desirable addition to any college, Advanced Placement, or heterogeneously grouped American history survey…. While the documents that are packaged with textbooks are more inclusive than they were twenty years ago, they do not provide either the breadth or depth given by this collection.”
—Social Education

“The Bill of Rights and the Constitution were born out of revolution. Fearless dissent in the name of justice is arguably America’s greatest legacy. You only need to read a book like Voices of a People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove to get enough inspiration for a lifetime.”
—Huffington Post.com

About Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove

HOWARD ZINN (1922-2010) influenced a generation with his ideas on politics and history, most importantly that “you can’t be neutral on a moving train”—that is, that history has no bystanders, only participants.

ANTHONY ARNOVE is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, editor of Iraq Under Siege and The Essential Chomsky, and coauthor, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People’s History of the United States and Terrorism and War. He is the codirector of The People Speak with Chris Moore and Howard Zinn.

Pub Date: November 11, 2014