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 a foreword by Zinn’s friend and colleague Noam Chomsky and an afterword from Zinn’s former Spelman College student and longtime friend Alice Walker, 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.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Noam Chomsky • p. xi

Introduction: The People’s Historian by Timothy Patrick McCarthy • p. xv

Acknowledgments • p. xxxiii


Part 1: The People’s History • p. 1
  • Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress from A People’s History of the United States
  • The Colorado Coal Strike, 1913-1914 from Three Strikes • p. 15
  • The New Abolitionists from SNCC • p. 31
  • Carter-Reagan-Bush: The Bipartisan Consensus from A Peoples History of the United States • p. 41
  • Interlude: Who Controls the Past Controls the Future • p. 66


Part 2: The Politics of History • p. 83
  • What Is Radical History? from The Politics of History • p. 85
  • “My Name Is Freedom”: Albany, Georgia and Selma, Alabama from You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train • p. 104
  • The Politics of History in the Era of the Cold War: Repression and Resistance from The Cold War and the University • p. 125
  • A Yellow Rubber Chicken: Battles at Boston University from You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train • p. 159
  • Interlude: How Social Change Happens • p. 172


Part 3: Protest Nation • p. 191
  • Bunker Hill: Beginnings from Postwar America • p. 193
  • Patriotism from A Power Governments Cannot Suppress • p. 222
  • The Ultimate Power from Passionate Declarations • p. 229
  • Interlude: The Future of History • p. 254


Part 4: On War and Peace • p. 289
  • Hiroshima from The Politics of History • p. 291
  • Vietnam: The Moral Equation from The Politics of History • p. 299
  • Withdrawal from Vietnam • p. 313
  • The Case Against War in Iraq from The Boston Globe • p. 327
  • Interlude: Resistance and the Role of Artists • p. 330


Part 5: Marx in Soho: A Play on History • p. 345

Afterword by Alice Walker • p. 371

Permissions • p. 377


Read, Learn, & Make History
Check out the Howard Zinn Digital Collection to search Zinn’s bibliography by books, articles, audio, video, and more.

Share This Page:

Like on Facebook