DECLARATIONS OF INDEPENDENCE by Howard Zinn

DECLARATIONS OF INDEPENDENCE

Cross-examining American Ideology
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KIRKUS REVIEW

For those who enjoyed Zinn's 1979 American Book Award nominee, A People's History of the United States, here's a rehash of his previous arguments against war, injustice, intolerance, and plutocratic politics. In the guise of a critical analysis of America's prevailing orthodoxies, Zinn accuses Plato and Machiavelli of misleading humankind into believing that obedience to laws and political realism are necessary components of citizenship. Locke, Madison, and Hamilton are condemned for using representative government to perpetuate a class system. In the meantime, the author denounces a wide range of American attitudes and actions in chapters on foreign policy, economics, free speech, and the legal system, etc. Predictably, he argues that America's downtrodden are victims of a system that closes minds and demands obedience. To prove his case, Zinn drags out the familiar examples of labor strikes, the WW II internment of the Japanese, civil rights demonstrations, and protests against the war in Vietnam. Included as well are his own experiences as a bombardier during WW II and as an activist teacher during the 1960's. Zinn also takes mainstream historians to task for their conservative bias and their claims to objectivity, which--he says--reinforce an undesirable status quo. As an alternative, he offers the study and advocacy of social protest. Zinn sees hope for the future in massive nonviolent movements resisting inequities--"the ultimate weapon for social change." An unabashedly subjective challenge to American orthodox beliefs, polemical and prickly.
Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1990
ISBN: 0060921080
Page count: 341pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1990




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