Ever sat through a long history lecture on kings or presidents and thought, “There must be more to the story?” Or even “What was everyone ELSE doing when Washington and his friends were crossing the Delaware?”

A Peoples’ History of the American Empire tells the real tale–the grassroots history–in graphic form (graphic=sequential art or comic book style). This is history with grit, drama and pictures. The book begins with the modern pain of 9/11, then jumps backwards to the Massacre at Wounded Knee, surveys World War I, Vietnam and looks at the US in Central America. Zinn shows these events through the eyes of the people who lived them, not abstractly through the machinations of political leaders.

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This book is adapted from Zinn’s landmark volume A People’s History of the United States, itself a bestseller. The illustrations mix comic-book style with adapted photographs, combine world events with Zinn’s own personal history. All of this makes A People’s History of the American Empire an exciting and enlightening read.

Check the availability of A People’s History of the American Empire in the JTCC Libraries.

Written by Suzanne

Suzanne has loved books from an early age, and remembers reading her 24 volume World Book Encyclopedia set when she ran out of novels. Now that she works in a library, she will never run out of reading material again! Suzanne is a recent MLS graduate who loves working with students and technology.

This article has 5 comments

  1. Jim Zador

    I started reading this book and it is an amazing adaptation of the A People’s History. A great way to be introduced to an author like Zinn who has a unique perspective backed by research and actual real-life experience. A truly eye-opening perspective. Check out this book(after I get done with it)!

  2. Mike Schau

    Wounded Knee? Vietnam? Doesn’t any one get what a biased book this is? Please read some criticalreviews before you poison your self with this book. I am a college librarian and do collection development in this area and do NOT recommend his books.

  3. Suzanne

    This graphic work is excerpted from The People’s History of the United States, which has been critically praised and was the runner-up for the National Book Award in 1980. The People’s History has been widely read in American universities since its publication.

    Recognizing bias is a crucial part of developing critical thinking skills. True learning requires reading widely across the disciplines and the political spectrum, and then thinking and talking about these themes and issues.

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by and add to the discussion.

  4. Jim Zador

    As Suzanne stated previously, to recognize bias is critical. I am interested in your argument on how Zinn is biased one way or another. Again, not saying he is not, I’m just interested in how so. I’d also be very interested to know your thoughts on how “traditional” textbooks used to educate our students have skirted similar bias that, as you state, is so apparent in Zinn’s work.

    Please reference some books that “get it right”.

  5. People

    I read it’s previous adaptation. For several years of the last decade, I taught Advanced Placement U.S. History at a high school in northern Virginia. When I began the course, Zinn had already been assigned by my predecessor, and I needed a counterpoint to the main text (Bailey and Kennedy’s bombastic, traditionalist, and short-on-social history “Pageant of the American Nation”). Zinn’s deftly written book provided a fortunate antithesis to the “march of presidents and industrial titans” approach to American history. I found many chapters of this book to be such excellent stimulants to class discussions that I extended their use into my non-AP U.S. history classes, where students, many of whom could not otherwise have cared less about history, found themselves reading an interesting and provocative historian for the first time in their lives. Many of the best discussions I ever had with my classes (both AP and “regular”) began with assigned chapters from Zinn. From there, it was an easy step to move on to the idea of historiography (the history of how history has been interpreted) and to decoupling my students from thinking of the textbook as revealed wisdom.

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