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Howard Zinn Speaks
Collected Speeches 1963-2009
Howard Zinn weaves rich historical narratives that inspire and captivate.

"Howard Zinn—there was no one like him. And to hear him speak was like listening to music that you loved—lyrical, uplifting, honest."—Michael Moore

"Zinn's speeches . . . are a joy and an inspiration."—Marisa Tomei

"Collected here for the first time, Howard's speeches come to us at the moment when we need them most: just as a global network of popular uprisings searches for what comes next."—Naomi Klein

Howard Zinn was one of the great orators of the twentieth century and illuminated our history like no other historian. He rarely spoke from notes, and yet could weave rich historical narratives that inspired and captivated audiences. He could grab the attention of even the most jaded students and charm listeners with his sharp humor and personal, engaging style. Many of his speeches have never been published in book form.

This first ever collection of his speeches will be an invaluable resource for new generations to continue to discover his work, as well as the millions he moved and informed in his lifetime.

Howard Zinn wrote the classic A People's History of the United States. The book, which has sold more than two million copies, has been featured in the film Good Will Hunting, and has appeared multiple times on The New York Times best-seller list.

Anthony Arnove wrote, directed, and produced The People Speak with Howard Zinn, Chris Moore, Josh Brolin, and Matt Damon, and co-edited, with Howard Zinn, Voices of a People's History of the United States.


Reviews
  • “Reading Howard’s spoken words I feel that I am almost hearing his voice again. Even in writing its unique appeal comes through — his stunning pitch-perfect ability to capture the moment and the concerns and needs of the audience whoever they may be, always enlightening, often stirring, an amalgam of insight, critical history, wit, blended with charm and appeal. I’ve heard Howard speak to tens of thousands at demonstrations, to small groups of homeless people, to activists enduring brutal treatment, and at many other times and places. Always just the right tone and message, always inspiring, a gift to all of us to be treasured.”
    —Noam Chomsky

    “Few people changed more lives than Howard Zinn. He changed them as an author, as a play write and as a filmmaker. But he also changed them face-to-face, as a speaker. With ferocious moral clarity and mischievous humor, Howard turned routine anti-war rallies into profound explorations of state violence and he turned staid academic conferences into revival meetings for social change. Collected here for the first time, Howard’s speeches — spanning an extraordinary life of passion and principle — come to us at the moment when we need them most: just as a global network of popular uprisings searches for what comes next. We could ask for no wiser a guide than Howard Zinn.”
    —Naomi Klein, author The Shock Doctrine

    “Howard Zinn — there was no one like him. And to hear him speak was like listening to music that you loved — lyrical, uplifting, honest. If you never got to hear him speak, this book will move you in profound ways. Although Howard’s ‘voice’ is no longer with us, his true voice will live on forever. And I know he would love it for each of you to find your voice, too, and to be heard. Perhaps this book will provide you with some inspiration.”
    —Michael Moore

    “Howard Zinn was one of us, the best part of us. Enjoy these speeches. Hear his voice. Then hear your own, hear it closely.”
    —Josh Brolin

    “One of my favorite expressions from Nicaragua is: ‘Struggle is the highest form of song.’ In that case Howard Zinn is one of our great singers and these speeches are righteous songs filled with the boldness, vision, humor, depth and urgings of his profoundly human voice. Howard sang a different America, an invisible America, an America of the 99 percent. He sang of the lies and deceit of the government and the impossibility and horror of wars made in America’s name. He sang of a dream, a deeper dream that is now rising in the streets. I cannot think of a more important set of songs to be singing at this time.”
    —Eve Ensler

    “Howard Zinn’s speeches, beautifully gathered together here by Anthony Arnove, are a joy and an inspiration.”
    —Marisa Tomei

    “Howard Zinn’s towering legacy will forever be as a historian who made history. He made history because his books, his actions, and especially his speeches inspired ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We fight onward today in a remarkable tradition of struggle. For many of us, we first became aware of this tradition by sitting in a packed, musty meeting hall and listening to stories of heart, humor, and heroism, as communicated by Howard Zinn.”
    —Dave Zirin

    "The first time I heard Howard Zinn speak I was a student in the deep South, and amazed that anyone could stay alive long enough to say such things. He was completely fearless, totally relaxed, making joking asides as he went straight to the bloody heart of Empire. How much time it has saved me, having him as a teacher my second year in college. Reading this book brings back memories of those times when Howie spoke to sometimes shocked crowds of people who, before hearing him, had thought historians should be silent about current affairs or, at most, write quiet books. Howard Zinn was a free man. Delightful because of this. Howard Zinn Speaks is a book to savor. It is wise, humorous, serious, without one moment of hesitation in tackling the basic notions about who we are as a people, a country, and a world. Elder brother, great teacher. Presenté."
    –Alice Walker

    "I hesitate to comment on Howard Zinn Speaks because of my unshakable and overt bias for anything Zinn. I don't think it'd be fair honestly to gloat about his work in such a way. But then again having a Zinn bias just means you favor truth and justice over lies and oppression."
    –Lupe Fiasco

    "These speeches make great reading for students and teachers—especially when read aloud."
    —Rethinking Schools
  • “Reading Howard’s spoken words I feel that I am almost hearing his voice again. Even in writing its unique appeal comes through — his stunning pitch-perfect ability to capture the moment and the concerns and needs of the audience whoever they may be, always enlightening, often stirring, an amalgam of insight, critical history, wit, blended with charm and appeal. I’ve heard Howard speak to tens of thousands at demonstrations, to small groups of homeless people, to activists enduring brutal treatment, and at many other times and places. Always just the right tone and message, always inspiring, a gift to all of us to be treasured.”
    —Noam Chomsky

    “Few people changed more lives than Howard Zinn. He changed them as an author, as a play write and as a filmmaker. But he also changed them face-to-face, as a speaker. With ferocious moral clarity and mischievous humor, Howard turned routine anti-war rallies into profound explorations of state violence and he turned staid academic conferences into revival meetings for social change. Collected here for the first time, Howard’s speeches — spanning an extraordinary life of passion and principle — come to us at the moment when we need them most: just as a global network of popular uprisings searches for what comes next. We could ask for no wiser a guide than Howard Zinn.”
    —Naomi Klein, author The Shock Doctrine

    “Howard Zinn — there was no one like him. And to hear him speak was like listening to music that you loved — lyrical, uplifting, honest. If you never got to hear him speak, this book will move you in profound ways. Although Howard’s ‘voice’ is no longer with us, his true voice will live on forever. And I know he would love it for each of you to find your voice, too, and to be heard. Perhaps this book will provide you with some inspiration.”
    —Michael Moore

    “Howard Zinn was one of us, the best part of us. Enjoy these speeches. Hear his voice. Then hear your own, hear it closely.”
    —Josh Brolin

    “One of my favorite expressions from Nicaragua is: ‘Struggle is the highest form of song.’ In that case Howard Zinn is one of our great singers and these speeches are righteous songs filled with the boldness, vision, humor, depth and urgings of his profoundly human voice. Howard sang a different America, an invisible America, an America of the 99 percent. He sang of the lies and deceit of the government and the impossibility and horror of wars made in America’s name. He sang of a dream, a deeper dream that is now rising in the streets. I cannot think of a more important set of songs to be singing at this time.”
    —Eve Ensler

    “Howard Zinn’s speeches, beautifully gathered together here by Anthony Arnove, are a joy and an inspiration.”
    —Marisa Tomei

    “Howard Zinn’s towering legacy will forever be as a historian who made history. He made history because his books, his actions, and especially his speeches inspired ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We fight onward today in a remarkable tradition of struggle. For many of us, we first became aware of this tradition by sitting in a packed, musty meeting hall and listening to stories of heart, humor, and heroism, as communicated by Howard Zinn.”
    —Dave Zirin

    "The first time I heard Howard Zinn speak I was a student in the deep South, and amazed that anyone could stay alive long enough to say such things. He was completely fearless, totally relaxed, making joking asides as he went straight to the bloody heart of Empire. How much time it has saved me, having him as a teacher my second year in college. Reading this book brings back memories of those times when Howie spoke to sometimes shocked crowds of people who, before hearing him, had thought historians should be silent about current affairs or, at most, write quiet books. Howard Zinn was a free man. Delightful because of this. Howard Zinn Speaks is a book to savor. It is wise, humorous, serious, without one moment of hesitation in tackling the basic notions about who we are as a people, a country, and a world. Elder brother, great teacher. Presenté."
    –Alice Walker

    "I hesitate to comment on Howard Zinn Speaks because of my unshakable and overt bias for anything Zinn. I don't think it'd be fair honestly to gloat about his work in such a way. But then again having a Zinn bias just means you favor truth and justice over lies and oppression."
    –Lupe Fiasco

    "These speeches make great reading for students and teachers—especially when read aloud."
    —Rethinking Schools

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Other books by Howard Zinn

  • Russia

    In the Russian revolution of 1917, workers took control of a major country for the first time in history.
  • SNCC

    Howard Zinn tells the story of one of the most important civil rights groups in American history.
  • Emma

    Howard Zinn dramatizes the life of Emma Goldman, the anarchist, feminist, and free-spirited thinker who was exiled from the US.
  • Disobedience and Democracy

    Howard Zinn’s cogent defense of civil disobedience.
  • Failure to Quit

    A selection of Howard Zinn’s most popular and accessible essays on history and politics.
  • Justice in Everyday Life

    Edited by Howard Zinn
    Howard Zinn’s book on the way justice really works in the U.S
  • Marx in Soho

    Marx in Soho is a brilliant introduction to Marx's life, his analysis of society, and his passion for radical change.
  • Postwar America

    Howard Zinn’s unique take on this vital period in U.S. history.
  • The Southern Mystique

    Howard Zinn examines the politics of the South and his own experiences there.
  • Vietnam

    Zinn’s compelling case against the Vietnam War
  • Marx in Soho (Audio CD)

    America's leading historian Howard Zinn brings Karl Marx back to life for a new generation.
  • Russia: From Workers' State to State Capitalism

    The essays in this book describe the triumph and defeat of the Russian revolution. They show that Stalin’s dictatorship was not the inevitable...