A People’s History of American Empire

Title: A People’s History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation

Author: Howard Zinn, with Paul Buhle, and illustrations by Mike Konopacki

Summary: It is hard to believe that the groundbreaking A People’s History of the United States is almost 30 years old! Historian Howard Zinn’s classic ‘history from the bottom up’ retold familiar episodes from the point of view of workers, women, minorities and others who were traditionally left out of the American story. In this graphic novel, Zinn, fellow historian Buhle and illustrator Konopacki describe the evolution of what they call the American Empire – the U.S. interactions with and policies towards other nations, beginning with Native Americans and ending with the current war in Iraq.

The story is well-suited to the graphic format, and with it’s haunting vignettes of atrocities and injustice, it is a devastating critique of the American government. It is a serious book, but there are moments of levity and humor. Particularly charming is Zinn’s own story of growing up in Brooklyn during the Depression and how serving in World War II transformed him into a radical thinker.

Who will like this book?: Fans of Zinn and Kenneth C. Davis. Any history buff who likes to find out ‘what really happened.’ Conservatives be advised: This book has a decidedly socialistic/progressive bent.

If you like this, try this: A People’s History of the United Statesby Howard Zinn.  A Cartoon History of the Modern World by Larry Gonick.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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