Books by Howard Zinn



This bibliography is organized by decade. Where available, updated editions with links to the publisher are provided.
Jump to: 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s



La Guardia in Congress

In this book, Howard Zinn establishes LaGuardia’s tenure in Congress as a vital link between the Progressive and New Deal eras, offering a lively and informative account of his many legislative battles, his political philosophy, and the distinctly urban (specifically, New York City) sensibilities he brought to the Progressive movement. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Cornell University Press, 1959; Fall Creek Books, 2010.



Albany: A Study in National Responsibility

Albany: A Study in National Responsibility

Albany: A Study in National Responsibility (1962) was the outcome of “an investigation I did for the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta of the mass [civil rights] demonstrations in Albany, Georgia. My report focused on the failure of the federal government to enforce constitutional rights in Albany. It made national news, and when Martin Luther King, Jr. told reporters he agreed with my criticisms of the FBI, he aroused the special anger of [FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover. My criticism went beyond the FBI to the national administration [of President John F. Kennedy], whose collaboration with the racist South—by inaction—was to become a persistent issue throughout the struggles of the movement for equal rights.” —Howard Zinn from The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy. Introduction by Leslie Dunbar.

Published by the Southern Regional Council, 1962.


The Southern Mystique

The South has long been surrounded in mystique. In this powerful volume, drawing on Zinn’s own experiences teaching in the South and working within the Southern civil rights movement, Zinn challenges the stereotypes surrounding the South, race relations, and how change happens in history. With a new introduction from the author. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Knopf, 1964; South End Press, 2002; Haymarket Books, 2013.



SNCC: The New Abolitionists

SNCC: The New Abolitionists influenced a generation of activists struggling for civil rights and seeking to learn from the successes and failures of those who built the fantastically influential Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. It is considered an indispensable study of the organization, of the 1960s, and of the process of social change. Includes a new introduction by the author. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Beacon Press, 1964; South End Press, 2002; Haymarket Books, 2013.



Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal

Of the many books that challenged the Vietnam War, Howard Zinn’s stands out as one of the best—and most influential. It helped spark a national debate on the war. It includes a powerful speech written by Zinn that President Johnson should have given to lay out the case for ending the war. Includes an updated 2002 introduction by the author. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Beacon Press, 1967; South End Press, 2002; Haymarket Books, 2013.



Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies on Law and Order

In this slim volume, Zinn lays out a clear and dynamic case for civil disobedience and protest, and challenges the dominant arguments against forms of protest that challenge the status quo. Zinn explores the politics of direct action, nonviolent civil disobedience, and strikes, and draws lessons for today. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Vintage, 1968; South End Press, 2002; Haymarket Books, 2013.




The Politics of History

This paperback bestseller presents a series of case studies and thought-provoking essays arguing for a radical approach to history and providing a revisionist interpretation of the historian’s role. In a new introduction written for this edition, Howard Zinn responds to critics of the 1970 edition and comments further on the radicalization of history. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Beacon Press, 1970; University of Illinois Press, 1990.



Postwar America: 1945–1971

The postwar boom in the U.S. brought about massive changes in U.S. society and culture. In this accessible volume, historian Howard Zinn offers a view from below on these vital years in American history. By critically examining U.S. militarism abroad and racism at home, he raises challenging questions about this often romanticized era. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Bobbs-Merrill, 1973; South End Press, 2002; Haymarket Books, 2013.



Justice in Everyday Life: The Way It Really Works

The book explores the reality of justice, which has always stood in contrast to the rhetoric about equal rights under the law. With sections on the police, the courts, prisons, housing, work, health, schools, and popular struggle, Justice in Everyday Life features classic essays by a diverse group of authors, including Jonathan Kozol.[Publisher’s description.]

Published by Beacon Press, 1977; South End Press, 2002; Haymarket Books, 2013.




A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present

Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools–with its emphasis on great men in high places–to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by HarperCollins, 1980; multiple updates.



The Twentieth Century: A People’s History

Containing just the twentieth-century chapters from Howard Zinn’s bestselling A People’s History of the United States, this revised and updated edition includes two new chapters—covering Clinton’s presidency, the 2000 Election, and the “war on terrorism. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by HarperCollins, 1984; updated 2003.




Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology

Howard Zinn presents an honest and piercing look at American political ideology. Zinn confronts some of the most cherished beliefs of our culture as he provides a practical guide to the dilemas of our time. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Harper Perennial, 1990.



Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian

In this lively collection of essays, Zinn discusses a wide range of historical and political topics, from the role of the Supreme Court in U.S. history to the nature of higher education today. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Common Courage Press, 1993; South End Press, 1999; Haymarket Books, 2013.



You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, tells his personal stories about more than thirty years of fighting for social change, from teaching at Spelman College to recent protests against war.

A former bombardier in WWII, Zinn emerged in the civil rights movement as a powerful voice for justice. Although he’s a fierce critic, he gives us reason to hope that by learning from history and engaging politically, we can make a difference in the world. [Publisher’s description.]

The 2018 updated version includes a foreword by professor of African American Studies and author Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Published by Beacon Press, 1994; 2002; 2018.


The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy

No other radical historian has reached so many hearts and minds as Howard Zinn. It is rare that a historian of the Left has managed to retain as much credibility while refusing to let his academic mantle change his beautiful writing style from being anything but direct, forthright, and accessible. Whether his subject is war, race, politics, economic justice, or history itself, each of his works serves as a reminder that to embrace one’s subjectivity can mean embracing one’s humanity, that heart and mind can speak with one voice. Here, in six sections, is the historian’s own choice of his shorter essays on some of the most critical problems facing America throughout its history, and today. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 1997; updated in 2009.



Marx in Soho: A Play on History

The premise of this witty and insightful “play on history” is that Karl Marx has agitated with the authorities of the afterlife for a chance to clear his name. Through a bureaucratic error, though, Marx is sent to Soho in New York, rather than his old stomping ground in London, to make his case. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by South End Press, 1999; Haymarket Books, 2013.



The Future of History

Who will control the past—and the future? In these panoramic interviews (1989-1998), Howard Zinn makes sense of the last century as only he can, tying together themes as diverse as the rise and fall (and rise again?) of the labor movement and the role of arts in American politics. He creates a platform from which to fight for the future and a funny, fast-paced read. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Common Courage Press, 1999.




Howard Zinn on History

Howard Zinn on History brings together twenty-seven short writings—originally appearing in newspapers like the Boston Globe or the New York Times; in magazines like Z, the New Left, the Progressive, or the Nation; or in his book Failure to Quit— on activism, electoral politics, the Holocaust, Marxism, the Iraq War, and the role of the historian, as well as portraits of Eugene Debs, John Reed, and Jack London, effectively showing how Zinn’s approach to history evolved over nearly half a century, and at the same time sharing his fundamental thinking that social movements—people getting together for peace and social justice—can change the course of history. That core belief never changed. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2001; updated 2013.



Howard Zinn on War

Howard Zinn on War is a collection of twenty-six short writings chosen by the author to represent his thinking on a subject that concerned and fascinated him throughout his career. He reflects on the wars against Iraq, the war in Kosovo, the Vietnam War, World War II, and on the meaning of war generally in a world of nations that can’t seem to stop destroying each other. These readings appeared first in magazines and newspapers including the Progressive and the Boston Globe, as well as in Zinn’s books, Failure to Quit, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal, The Politics of History, and Declarations of Independence. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2001; updated 2013.



La otra historia de los Estados Unidos

Translated by Toni Strubel

A People’s History of the United States, in Spanish.

La obra de Howard Zinn ha inspirado a estudiantes y activistas de todas las edades, afirmando que la gente tiene el poder de cambiar la historia. En La otra historia de los Estados Unidos, la version definitiva en español del clásico de Zinn La historia del pueblo de los Estados Unidos, Zinn asume la narrativa típica de la historia americana y nos muestra la mentira que se esconde detrás de la historia “oficial”—revelando a Cristóbal Colón no como descubridor sino como asesino; los fundadores de la nación norteamericana no como liberadores sino como la fundación de una nueva elite adinerada—y a la vez aboga por héroes americanos alternativos, desde Bartolomeo de las Casas hasta Tecumseh y César Chávez, quienes desafiaron el poder norteamericano imperialista y vencieron.

Actualizado y ampliado incluyendo la presidencia de Bush, La otra historia de los Estados Unidos nos vuelve a recordar que la grandeza verdadera de America se encuentra no en los generales militares, sino en sus voces disidentes. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2001; updated in 2011.


Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor’s Last Century

Three renowned historians present stirring tales of labor: Howard Zinn tells the grim tale of the Ludlow Massacre, a drama of beleaguered immigrant workers, Mother Jones, and the politics of corporate power in the age of the robber barons. Dana Frank brings to light the little-known story of a successful sit-in conducted by the “counter girls” at the Detroit Woolworth’s during the Great Depression. Robin D. G. Kelley’s story of a movie theater musicians’ strike in New York asks what defines work in times of changing technology. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Beacon Press, 2001.



Terrorism and War

Truth—as Zinn shows us in the interviews that make up Terrorism and War—has indeed been the first casualty of war, starting from the beginnings of American empire in the Spanish-American War. But war has many other casualties, he argues, including civil liberties on the home front and human rights abroad. In Terrorism and War, Zinn explores the growth of the American empire, as well as the long tradition of resistance in this country to U.S. militarism, from Eugene Debs and the Socialist Party during World War I to the opponents of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan today. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2002.



In this play, historian and playwright Howard Zinn dramatizes the life of Emma Goldman, the anarchist, feminist, and free-spirited thinker who was exiled from the United Stated because of her outspoken views, including her opposition to World War I. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by South End Press, 2002; Haymarket Books, 2013.

See also: A filmed performance of Emma by the Byrdcliffe Theatre in 2005 available on Vimeo.



Passionate Declarations: Essays on War and Justice

From Howard Zinn comes this selection of passionate, honest, and piercing essays looking at American political ideology.

Zinn brings to Passionate Declarations the same astringent style and provocative point of view that led more than a million people to buy his book A People’s History of the United States. He directs his critique here to what he calls “American orthodoxies” —that set of beliefs guardians of our culture consider sacrosanct: justifications for war, cynicism about human nature and violence, pride in our economic system, certainty of our freedom of speech, romanticization of representative government, confidence in our system of justice. Those orthodoxies, he believes, have a chilling effect on our capacity to think independently and to become active citizens in the long struggle for peace and justice. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by HarperCollins, 2003.


Artists in Times of War and Other Essays

“Political power,” says Howard Zinn, “is controlled by the corporate elite, and the arts are the locale for a kind of guerilla warfare in the sense that guerillas look for apertures and opportunities where they can have an effect.” In Artists in Times of War, Zinn looks at the possibilities to create such apertures through art, film, activism, publishing, and through our everyday lives. In this collection of four essays—three of which are previously unpublished—the author of A People’s History of the United States writes about why “to criticize the government is the highest act of patriotism.” [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2000.


The People Speak: American Voices, Some Famous, Some Little Known

Dramatic Readings Celebrating the Enduring Spirit of Dissent
To celebrate the millionth copy sold of Howard Zinn’s great People’s History of the United States, Zinn drew on the words of Americans—some famous, some little known—across the range of American history with commentary interwoven by Zinn. These words were read by a remarkable cast at an event held at the 92nd Street YMHA in New York City that included James Earl Jones, Alice Walker, Jeff Zinn, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfre Woodard, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover, Myla Pitt, Harris Yulin, and Andre Gregory. From that celebration, this book was born. Collected here under one cover is a brief history of America told through dramatic readings applauding the enduring spirit of dissent. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by HarperCollins, 2004.



Howard Zinn on Democratic Education

Howard Zinn on Democratic Education describes what is missing from school textbooks and in classrooms—and how we move beyond these deficiencies to improve student education. Critical skills of citizenship are insufficiently developed in schools, according to Zinn. Textbooks and curricula must be changed to transcend the recitation of received wisdom too common today in our schools. In these respects, recent Bush Administration and educational policies of most previous presidents have been on the wrong track in meeting educational needs. This book seeks to redefine national goals at a time when public debates over education have never been more polarized—nor higher in public visibility and contentious debate. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Paradigm Publishers, 2004.



Voices of a People’s History of the United States

Voices of a People’s History is the long-awaited companion volume to Howard Zinn’s national bestseller, A People’s History of the United States. 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.

[Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2004, 2009, 2014.




Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics

Howard Zinn has been interviewed by David Barsamian for public radio numerous times over the past decade. Original Zinn is a collection of their conversations, showcasing the acclaimed author of A People’s History of the United States at his most engaging and provocative.

Touching on such diverse topics as the American war machine, civil disobedience, the importance of memory and remembering history, and the role of artists—from Langston Hughes to Dalton Trumbo to Bob Dylan—in relation to social change, Original Zinn is Zinn at his irrepressible best, the acute perception of a scholar whose impressive knowledge and probing intellect make history immediate and relevant for us all. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Harper Perennial, 2006.



Just War

From Howard Zinn comes a short, intense polemic on the political direction of those United States, leading toward what seems to Zinn like perpetual war. Just War is based on a lecture given in Rome, where, as Zinn addressed an Italian audience, a public known for its negative opinions of recent American foreign policy, he could be direct about his own feelings. “I come from a country which is at war, as it has been almost continuously: and for that I feel shame.” His rousing call to the only “just war,” the “war against war,” which concludes that “perhaps it will take a combination of factors to end war: but we must all play a part,” is a must-read for those who know and trust his work, and, for those concerned about current events and looking for strong and morally driven perspectives, it is an excellent introduction to a great thinker. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Charta/Distributed Art Publisher, 2006.



A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Buzzing with ideas, stories, and anecdotes spanning from the Revolutionary War and the War with Mexico through to World War II, Vietnam, 9/11, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Zinn’s view of American history is not a praise of famous leaders, but those who rebelled against them in the name of social justice. While writing extensively on current events and the consequences of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, Zinn also dedicates entire chapters to troublemakers like Henry David Thoreau, Eugene Debs, Philip Berrigan, Italian immigrants Sacco & Vanzetti, and heralds not the soldiers who fought for George Washington, but those who deserted the Revolutionary Army because of intolerable mistreatment from elitist commanding officers. For Zinn, the voices and stories of ordinary working Americans, immigrants, working people, and soldiers comprise the real storyline of our history. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by City Lights Publishers, 2007.



The Unraveling of the Bush Presidency

Here is historian Howard Zinn’s long-awaited telling of these last six years of United States history, a time when catastrophic machinations of war have dictated our foreign and domestic policy, and when voices of resistance have appeared in the unlikeliest places. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2007.



The State of the Union: Notes on an Obama Administration

Based on a talk delivered in the weeks following the historic election of Barack Obama, The State of the Union is a sobering look at whether the new president could turn the euphoria of a nation toward enacting the change his supporters had hoped for. Ever more urgent in its prescience, this powerful and radical analysis of the opportunities for change now stands out as a deeply important book from an equally important moment in American history. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Back Bay Books, 2009.



Uncommon Sense from the Writings of Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn’s remarkable wisdom and insight can be found in his earliest writings through his latest essays, speeches, and plays. Uncommon Sense brings together his most poignant and profound quotations from decades of writing and speaking. The book reveals the philosophical side of Howard Zinn and a consistency of vision over 50 years on topics ranging from government to race, history, law, civil disobedience, and activism. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Paradigm Publishers, 2009.



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The Bomb

As an active WWII bombardier returning from the end of the war in Europe and preparing for combat in Japan, Howard Zinn read the headline “Atomic Bomb Dropped on Japan” and was glad—the war would be over. “Like other Americans,” writes Zinn, “I had no idea what was going on at the higher levels, and had no idea what that ‘atomic bomb’ had done to men, women, children in Hiroshima, any more than I ever really understood what the bombs I dropped on European cities were doing to human flesh and blood.” During the war, Zinn had taken part in the aerial bombing of Royan, France, and in 1966, he went to Hiroshima, where he was invited to a “house of rest” where survivors of the bombing gathered. In this short and powerful book, the backstory of the making and use of the bomb, Zinn offers his deep personal reflections and political analysis of these events, and the profound influence they had in transforming him from an order-taking combat soldier to one of our greatest anti-authoritarian, anti-war historians. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by City Lights Publishers, 2010.



Three Plays: The Political Theater of Howard Zinn: Emma, Marx in Soho, Daughter of Venus

World-renowned historian Howard Zinn has turned to drama to explore the legacy of Karl Marx and Emma Goldman and to delve into the intricacies of political and social conscience perhaps more deeply than traditional history permits. Three Plays brings together all this work, including the previously unpublished Daughter of Venus, along with a new introductory essay on political theater, and prefaces to each of the plays. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Beacon Press, 2010.



Howard Zinn on Race

Howard Zinn on Race is Zinn’s choice of the shorter writings and speeches that best reflect his views on America’s most taboo topic. In clear, compassionate, and present prose, Zinn gives us his thoughts on the Abolitionists, the march from Selma to Montgomery, John F. Kennedy, picketing, sit-ins, and, finally, the message he wanted to send to New York University students about race in a speech he delivered during the last week of his life. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Seven Stories Press, 2011.



The Other Civil War: Slavery and Struggle in Civil War America

The Other Civil War offers historian and activist Howard Zinn’s view of the social and civil background of the American Civil War—a view that is rarely provided in standard historical texts. Drawn from his New York Times bestseller A People’s History of the United States, this set of essays recounts the history of American labor, free and not free, in the years leading up to and during the Civil War. He offers an alternative yet necessary account of that terrible nation-defining epoch. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by HarperCollins, 2011.



The Indispensable Zinn: The Essential Writings of the “People’s Historian”

Designed to highlight Zinn’s most important writings, The Indispensable Zinn includes excerpts from Zinn’s bestselling A People’s History of the United States; his memoir, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train; his inspiring writings on the civil rights movement; and the full text of his celebrated play Marx in Soho. Noted historian and activist Timothy Patrick McCarthy provides essential historical and biographical context for each selection.

With an introduction from Zinn’s former Spelman College student and longtime friend Alice Walker and an afterword by Zinn’s friend and colleague Noam Chomsky, The Indispensable Zinn is both a fitting tribute to the legacy of a man whose “work changed the way millions of people saw the past” (Noam Chomsky) and a powerful and accessible introduction for anyone discovering Zinn for the first time. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by The New Press, 2011.



The Historic Unfulfilled Promise

Howard Zinn’s life and work are the stuff of legend. His People’s History of the United States has sold over 2 million copies and has altered how we see and teach history. A hero in word and deed, Zinn’s views on freedom, fairness, history, democracy, and our own human potential are educational and transformative. In few places is the genius of his voice more crystalized and accessible than in the dozens of articles he penned for The Progressive magazine from 1980 to 2009, offered together here in book form for the first time. Whether critiquing the Obama White House, the sorry state of U.S. government and politics, the tragic futility of U.S. military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the plight of working people in an economy rigged to benefit the rich and powerful, Zinn’s historical clarity, unflappable optimism, and unshakable questions reverberate throughout The Historic Unfulfilled Promise. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by City Lights Publishers, 2012.



Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches 1963-2009

Howard Zinn has illuminated our history like no other U.S. historian. 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. [Publisher’s description.]

Published by Haymarket Books, 2012.



Some Truths Are Not Self-Evident: Essays in The Nation on Civil Rights, Vietnam, and “The War on Terror”

As Frances Fox Piven writes in the introduction, “These Nation essays remind us that for nearly fifty years Zinn himself was deeply involved in the major twentieth-century struggles for social justice in the United States.”

The book also includes later Zinn articles on George W. Bush’s wars—on terror, in Iraq, against the poor—as well as a selection of Nation articles about Zinn, concluding with Eric Foner’s 2010 obituary for the historian who “was not afraid to speak out about the difference between right and wrong.” [Publisher’s description.]

Published by The Nation Company, 2014.