The People Speak: American Voices, Some Famous, Some Little Known: Dramatic Readings Celebrating the Enduring Spirit of Dissent

Howard Zinn, Editor Harper Perennial $9.95 (82p) ISBN 978-0-06-057826-8
Last winter, Zinn and his publishers hosted a star-studded reading of political tracts to celebrate the sale of the millionth copy of Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States. This slender volume presents the readings from that night, along with brief introductions that give a historical context to each excerpt. Designed to help""theater companies, as well as high schools and colleges, their own readings of this highly-charged material,"" the book covers everything from the arrival of Columbus in the New World to the terror attacks of September 11. Many of the excerpts sound eerily contemporary. Plough Jogger, a participant in Shays's Rebellion, complains,""I have been obliged to pay taxes and nobody will pay me...the great men are going to get all we have."" Abby Lincoln asks,""Who will revere the black woman?"" and declares that ""black womanhood cries for dignity and restitution and salvation."" These lesser-known voices mingle with those of Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, Cesar Chavez and other well-known dissenters to illustrate Zinn's belief that""the history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest.""
Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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