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A People’s History of the United States audiobook

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A People’s History of the United States Audiobook Summary


Read by Matt Damon and Howard Zinn

“A wonderful, splendid book–a book that should be read by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future.” -Howard Fast

Historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools–with its emphasis on great men in high places–to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, it is the only volume to tell America’s story from the point of view of–and in the words of–America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As Zinn shows, many of our country’s greatest battles–the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women’s rights, racial equality–were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance.

Covering Christopher Columbus’s arrival through President Clinton’s first term, A People’s History of the United States features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history. This edition also includes an introduction by Anthony Arnove, who wrote, directed, and produced The People Speak with Zinn and who coauthored, with Zinn, Voices of a People’s History of the United States.

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A People’s History of the United States Audiobook Narrator

Matt Damon is the narrator of A People’s History of the United States audiobook that was written by Howard Zinn

About the Reader: Matt Damon

Matt Damon’s film career has including starring roles in Good Will Hunting (which he co-wrote), The Rainmaker, Saving Private Ryan, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and the upcoming All the Pretty Horses.  He is currently producing the TV mini-series on A People’s History of the United States.

About the Author(s) of A People’s History of the United States

Howard Zinn is the author of A People’s History of the United States

A People’s History of the United States Full Details

Narrator Matt Damon
Length 8 hours 44 minutes
Author Howard Zinn
Publisher HarperAudio
Release date February 24, 2004
ISBN 9780060754143


The publisher of the A People’s History of the United States is HarperAudio. includes the following subjects: The BISAC Subject Code is Democracy, Political Ideologies, Political Science

Additional info

The publisher of the A People’s History of the United States is HarperAudio. The imprint is HarperAudio. It is supplied by HarperAudio. The ISBN-13 is 9780060754143.

Global Availability

This book is only available in the United States.

Goodreads Reviews


May 02, 2015

This history has details that are skipped over by most historians. This is a history from the viewpoint of the powerless who are viewed as the losers from the standpoint of the winners (i.e the one's who write history). Howard Zinn pretty well summarizes the perspective from which he writes this history as follows:"I prefer to tell the story of the discovery of America from the viewpoint of the Arawak, of the Constitution from the stand point of the slaves, of Andrew Jackson as seen by the Cherokees, of the Civil War seen by the New York Irish, of the Mexican War as seen by the deserting soldiers in Scott’s army, of the rise of industrialism as seen by the young women in the Lowell textile mills, of the Spanish American War as seen by the Cubans, the conquest of the Philippines as seen by black soldiers on Luzon, the Gilded Age as seen by southern farmers, the first World War as seen by socialists, the Second World War as seen by pacifists, the New Deal as seen by blacks of Harlem, the post war American empire as seen by peons in Latin America.”There's part of me that wants to insist that all Americans should read this to have a more complete understanding of their history. But I know at 768 pages this is a long read that not many people are going to read. One problem is that the end of the book is becoming dated. The book was originally published in 1980 (won the National Book Award) and has been revised frequently with the latest being 2005. The version I listened to included the September 11 attacks and the bombing of Afghanistan, but there was no mention of the second Iraq War. Sadly I noticed that all of the social problems mentioned in the book as existing in the 80s and 90s have only gotten worse since. For example, the disparity of wealth has continued to get worse, and there's no end in sight to this trend.Instead of trying the impossible task of summarizing the contents of this book, I will note one bit of minor trivia I learned from this book that is the answer to the question, who is the only person imprisioned because of the Iran-Contra affair?In Poindexter's hometown of Odon, Indiana, a street was renamed to John Poindexter Street. Bill Breeden, a former minister, stole the street's sign in protest of the Iran–Contra affair. He claimed that he was holding it for a ransom of $30 million, in reference to the amount of money given to Iran to transfer to the Contras. He was later arrested and confined to prison, making him, as satirically noted by Howard Zinn, "the only person to be imprisoned as a result of the Iran–Contra Scandal".This is another example of how the real criminals get off scot-free, and the ones trying to take action to publicize the injustice get the shaft.


January 26, 2022

great if you’ve always wanted to read this book but were daunted by the length. but Matt Damon shouldn’t have narrated it lmao


October 18, 2020

I'm a pretty left leaning person. I protested Geroge W's election and the post 9-11 wars, I grumbled early and often about military spending and social inequity. My sketchy understanding of the inner workings of 20th government policy and military history does me no credit. But Zinn tells the story of the 20th century through the lens of resistance-- unions, war protests, strikes and movements that barely get a footnote but that provided the crucial pressure for progressice change in those 100 years. This is the kind of book that challenges my assumptions, pushes me towards new questions, and inspires me to learn more. I squirmed as he described the failures and inadequacies of the Democratic party's compromises, and flinched to hear his predictions from 2000: such a huge portion of the population is disenfranchised and unrepresented, they will be susceptible to right wing strong man leadership OR open to real progressive change.I wish I had read this before Bernie's campaign-- it would have put his work in context. As it is, I'm left curious, concerned, and eager to seek out deeper context and clearer understanding of the tides that brought us here and the options that lie before us.


July 30, 2020

The second half bigger book. Lots of good info. The people are expendable and the establishment will kill us to stay in power.


November 11, 2015

I read the 20th Century abridged version of A People's History, so I kinda cheated there. The 20th Century abridge version starts in the 60s, because apparently nothing of interest happened in the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s. :| Still, it was interesting getting a more hands-on accounting of Civil Rights, women's equality, America's fascination with prisons, and the continued mistreatment of Native Americans. He covers a bit on Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm and finishes by railing on the Clinton Administration's ties to big business (while staying mostly silent on the Reagan and Bush I administrations). I can't say I learned anything earth-shattering, having come across most of these topics before elsewhere, but his presentation was at least readable and not too ponderous.


June 30, 2009

Well. Howard Zinn was preaching to the choir, and I loved every second. This audio book is co-narrated by Matt Damon and Howard Zinn (who were neighbors in Boston when Damon was growing up), and both are great readers.I got a little choked up when Zinn spoke about the women's lib movement in the 60s and 70s. It was this emotional, empowered reaction: "wow, he's a historian, and he's telling the history of my people!" I'm sure the rest of the "untold histories" that he finally tells in this book have a similar effect on other groups of underrepresented people, too.Zinn cares not for war, power or money, but for people. He's extremely idealistic, but I believe that we need visionaries like Zinn to help us imagine what might be possible~


May 29, 2008

The book on CD only includes the 20th Century (the actual book is pretty thick) but it's got some great information. Focuses on Civil Rights movement to the present.The saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" comes to mind. Politicians are replaying the same things from our history to this day. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.The part on Prez Clinton was particularly enlightening. I cannot believe all the things I'd forgotten that he did - WELFARE REFORM, military bombings in Africa & Europe). It makes me wonder why I ever liked him (republicans, democrats, same difference).I highly suggest this book! As a matter of fact, I might go buy it for my bookshelf as a reference book.


March 22, 2017

I think that it important to refresh memories of historical events during the course of one's lifetime. A People's History of the United States: Highlights from the Twentieth Century provided me with the opportunity to accomplish that goal.I selected the audiobook, which contains seven discs. Matt Damon and Howard Zinn are the readers.


May 04, 2021

This is the shorter, twentieth-century focused version of Zinn’s longer history of the same name, two copies of which have been staring down at me from the bookshelf for a number of years. I’ve made a few starts, but decided the shorter audiobook, read beautifully by Matt Damon and less beautifully but competently by Zinn himself, might be a good start. Or, at any rate, since it was in stock at the library, I went for it. I’ve read some other things by Zinn, including his memoir. If you’re used to traditional histories, his approach will be new to you. He is interested in the history of protests and uprisings. His sympathies are with people and collective, local action. He is skeptical of the existence of anything as broad as a “national interest.” Or, perhaps, skeptical that what is presented as such ever really is. Zinn would be the first to admit that his histories are positioned in such a way. And he sees his work as a balance to the history we all learned in school, back when Columbus was celebrated for his navigation skills and what he and his followers did to indigenous populations was omitted or deemed unfortunate but inevitable. This version, dealing with only selections from the twentieth century, mostly makes the case against war, encouraging us to spend our money on making the world a better place, rather than letting so much of our resources go to military and corporate interests. He spends a rather long time grinding his axe on Bill Clinton, which will either delight or annoy you depending upon how well you liked Clinton. Zinn is worth reading. I find his work mostly depressing, but it’s an important part of a more inclusive discussion of what history really is. And it fills in many blank spaces in the parade of national conflicts that probably still fill too much of the history curricula, especially at the levels through high school. I got a good dose of the sort of complexity that Zinn encourages in college, though more though an Early American Literature class than through any of my history classes.


May 12, 2021

Excellent history written from the point of view of the average citizens and the victims of governments rather than from the point of view of governments (as most historical accounts are written). The historical point of view is excellent and unique, his pointing out the problems and atrocities caused by governments and their war mongering are spot on. However his lack of economic understanding and his constant support of socialism comes through often. He goes back and forth between realizing that government is the problem and specifying the horrors caused by government action, to wanting the government to be larger, have more control, levy more taxes, and enforce stronger regulatory control over citizens. This book is a must read for the history, but leaves one disappointed with Zinn's proposed solutions and his lack of ability to fully see that government power is the root of the problem.


December 06, 2021

I read Zinn's book in the 1980s before it became a staple of many school history curriculum. I have dipped into it every now and again since then. I think it is a great jumping-off point to acquire a left perspective on history. Nowadays it would probably be targetted as critical race theory or left indoctrination by right-wingers. At the first reading, it was a valuable corrective to the standard history I got in high school. I still think it is a useful work as a primer for history as viewed from the bottom up. The edition I read was updated in the early aughts to include material on the first gulf war of the 1990s. I wonder what Zinn would make of the US in the 2020s. I am sure he would not be surprised but probably a little disappointed.


December 01, 2017

Well, what can I say. This book is a real eye opener. Makes you think about history in a an entirely different way. What you hear in the media is what you are supposed to hear, not what is really happening. I listened to the audio book (truncated) that was read by Matt Damon and Howard Zinn. Especially liked Mr Zinn’s commentary at the end. Highly recommended. For fun check out this Zinnesque clip from Good Will Hunting. https://youtu.be/l8rQNdBmPek

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