Howard Zinn's A People's History of American Empire is a fantastic comic-book adaptation of Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States (the best and most important critical history of the life of everyday people in America from 1492 onward), a new edition illustrated by Mike Konopacki and aided by historian Paul Buhle. American Empire focuses on the history of American foreign policy, starting with the policy of conquering America itself, with brutal massacres like Wounded Knee.
Zinn is an uncompromising critic of the imperial history of America, the unilateral deeds of its leaders, the atrocities committed by its military and its contractors through Asia, Africa, Europe, and around the world. But the book is also part memoir, describing the emotional commitment to democracy and America that led him to join the military and fight in WWII in Europe -- a campaign that ended with the first-ever napalm drop on a village in France, roasting surrendered German soldiers waiting to be taken away to a POW camp.
Zinn is a fierce lover of democracy, of justice, and of freedom, and he makes it clear that America is a land divided by dreams of affluence (no matter the global cost) and dreams of liberty for all. As a wise man once said, "All countries fail to live up to their ideals. America fails to live up to better ideals than most." We can't forgive or forget the atrocities of Iran-Contra, My Lai, Wounded Knee, or the many other shameful moments in American imperial history, because the price of forgetfulness is fresh horrors, in Abu Ghraib, in Guantanamo, in Afghanistan.
Zinn shows us that loving American means taming her, controlling the plutocrats who assert the unilateral power to crush dissent, act in secret and go to war.
The comic book form is a great way of delivering this message, the spreads mix text, cartoons, reproductions of historical documents and photos, making the whole thing visual, dynamic, and absolutely captivating.
A People's History of American Empire
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