Synopses & Reviews
Howard Zinn was perhaps the best-known and most widely celebrated popular interpreter of American history in the twentieth century, renowned as a bestselling author, a political activist, a lecturer, and one of Americas most recognizable and admired progressive voices.
His rich, complicated, and fascinating life placed Zinn at the heart of the signal events of modern American historyfrom the battlefields of World War II to the McCarthy era, the civil rights and the antiwar movements, and beyond. A bombardier who later renounced war, a son of working-class parents who earned a doctorate at Columbia, a white professor who taught at the historically black Spelman College in Atlanta, a committed scholar who will be forever remembered as a devoted peoples historian”Howard Zinn blazed a bold, iconoclastic path through the turbulent second half of the twentieth century.
For the millions who were moved by Zinns personal example of political engagement and by his inspiring bottom up” history, here is an authoritative biography of this towering figureby Martin Duberman, recipient of the American Historical Associations 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award. Given exclusive access to the previously closed Zinn archives, Dubermans impeccably researched biography is illustrated with never-before-published photos from the Zinn family collection. Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left is a major publishing event that brings to life one of the most inspiring figures of our time.
"Howard Zinn (1922 2010) was a radical activist, author of the landmark 1980 bestseller A People's History of the United States, a bottoms-up chronicle of American injustice, racism, and hypocrisy. Admiring but occasionally critical of Zinn, Duberman (A Saving Remnant), CUNY emeritus professor of history, emphasizes that Zinn's book made no claim to objectivity and 'marked a profound shift away from the tone of triumphalism' that characterized earlier histories. Raised in poverty, Zinn served in WWII, earned a Ph.D. at Columbia, and taught at Spelman, a historically black women's college in Atlanta, from 1956 to 1963, encouraging nascent civil right protests until he was fired for these activities. He moved to Boston University, writing and campaigning until his death. A purely American radical, Zinn had no sympathy with communism or revolution, but often appears cynical, as when he views the Bill of Rights or universal suffrage as mere concessions by the elite to pacify the masses. Duberman's sympathetic account may lead readers to sympathize with Zinn's stance that disparaging American freedom for not being expansive enough is preferable to glorifying it uncritically. 24 b&w illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Biography at its best, written by a master of the craft and a man who has lived the activist life and combined that with serious scholarship and innovative teaching."
Michael Kammen, Los Angeles Review of Books
"This intelligent book reminds us of the titanic moral struggles in American history and those who engaged with them."
The Washington Post
"Owing to Dubermans own passionate commitment to social justice and his exclusive access to Zinn's papers, his authoritative biography brings Zinn's colorful voice back to life."
"If youre a fan of Howard Zinn . . . youll want to pick up this excellent biography."
"Imagine! The best of Howard Zinn and Martin Duberman between two covers. Everyone interested in A People's History and a future of justice and hope will benefit from Martin Duberman's insightful, vividly written, splendid biography. Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left is profoundly moving and perfectly timed as we regroup and reconsider our world's needs."
Blanche Wiesen Cook, University Distinguished Professor at John Jay College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of Eleanor Roosevelt
"Martin Duberman has written a fine biography. He brings us the extraordinary life of Howard Zinn, in an account that is well-informed and empathetic, sometimes gently critical, but always aware of the driving passion for direct action in the cause of social justice that was the core of Howard Zinn's being."
Frances Fox Piven
"Howard Zinn was one of the truly great figures of twentieth-century American radicalisman academic who shocked much of the academy by giving us a people's history of our own country. We are fortunate that the author of this biography is Martin Duberman, himself an activist as well as an academic, who brings his passion to these pages."
"When Howard Zinn died I hoped that someone would document the extraordinary life of this extremely kind and brave manbut I never dreamed that it would be done by someone with the craft and vision of Martin Duberman. This book is destined to be a classic of twentieth-century history."
Mark Kurlansky, author of Nonviolence and 1968
"Martin Duberman's masterful biography promises to bring the story of Howards life and work to new generations of readers."
Paul Buhle, editor of A Peoples History of American Empire
"A masterful biography. . . . With his typically meticulous research, Martin Duberman has ferreted out the facts and given us a complete picture, warts and all."
About the Author
Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Lehman College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He was the founder and for ten years the first director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate School. He has authored over twenty books, including James Russell Lowell, finalist for the National Book Award; Stonewall; the memoir Cures: A Gay Mans Odyssey; The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein, runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in biography; the political memoir Waiting to Land; and, most recently, the acclaimed dual biography A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds. Duberman himself has received numerous awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Lambda Book Award, the George Freedley Memorial Award, and, in 2008, the American Historical Associations Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Scholarship.