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A People's History of American Empire    by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki & Paul Buhle order for
People's History of American Empire
by Howard Zinn
Order:  USA  Can
Metropolitan, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

Activist, author, and teacher Howard Zinn is probably best known for the bestselling A People's History of the United States. Now, with the help of writer Mike Konopacki and artist Paul Buhle, he presents A People's History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation. With the popularity of books like Persepolis, 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, and Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, journalism through graphic illustration is a growing genre, with a solid addition in Howard Zinn's book.

A People's History of American Empire begins at the beginning with the growing American colonies and subjugation of minorities on the North American continent. The book does not hold back in putting blame on the US government, as we pass through the Civil War, and the World Wars. It becomes obvious that something strange has been going on for over a century, during which time the American government seems to have been obsessed with controlling the governments of developing countries in Central and South America. The term empire is key to the book as it extols America's need to dictate the actions of other countries. As we reach the 1960s, the authors go into detail about the transference of this American empire from the Americas to the Middle East, when oil became such a critical natural resource. The book does an excellent job in showing just who it is that suffers most: the poor of whichever country they may be in. Many die and A People's History satirizes this as a necessary sacrifice, for ultimately it's not Americans dying.

A People's History of Empire offers a sobering look at American history through the actions of its government, presidents, and politicians. The artwork aids the writing, in showing emotion, people's characters, and events, making a stronger impression on the reader. It reveals a history rarely seen or discussed in history books, that makes the reader wonder at times why so many revere the United States as the land of the free, given the amount of blood that has been spilled in its past over personal gain.

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