cover image Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology

Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology

Howard Zinn. HarperCollins Publishers, $25 (341pp) ISBN 978-0-06-016473-7

In these informal, challenging essays that link the personal to the political, Zinn ( A People's History of the United States ) aims to shake complacency, to challenge what he calls ``American orthodoxies'' or received opinions about history and government. He charges that Machiavellian tactics have dominated policies of presidents in their pursuit of ``national security interests.'' Calling the American economic system ``shamefully wasteful and unjust,'' the Boston University political scientist urges a ``real war on poverty'' and on pollution, a turnaround in national priorities away from massive military spending. Recognition that the Soviet Union is a police state, he believes, should not lead us to embrace ``fanatical anticommunism'' or to justify the U.S. government's control over other countries. He argues that there are no just wars, accuses the major media of slavishness to government-business control and knocks social theories that resort to ``human nature'' to explain war and class inequities. (Oct.)