Passionate Declarations: Essays on War and Justice

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Harper Collins, Jun 17, 2003 - History - 368 pages

From the bestselling author of A People's History of the United States comes this selection of passionate, honest, and piercing essays looking at American political ideology.

Howard Zinn brings to Passionate Declarations the same astringent style and provocative point of view that led more than a million people to buy his book A People's History of the United States. He directs his critique here to what he calls "American orthodoxies" -- that set of beliefs guardians of our culture consider sacrosanct: justifications for war, cynicism about human nature and violence, pride in our economic system, certainty of our freedom of speech, romanticization of representative government, confidence in our system of justice. Those orthodoxies, he believes, have a chilling effect on our capacity to think independently and to become active citizens in the long struggle for peace and justice.

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User Review  - Zissou54 - LibraryThing

Very moving and powerful. For those who can not stomach Zinn's much larger "A People's History of the United States", I highly recommend this outstanding book. Read full review

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User Review  - PigOfHappiness - LibraryThing

In this collection of Zinn essays, readers will find passionate explanations and ideas. Although he can be a bit verbose, this is definitely an enlightening read worth checking out! Appropriate for college aged and beyond... Read full review

Contents

American Ideology i
1
THREE Violence and Human Nature
32
FOUR The Use and Abuse of History
48
The American Class System
147
Second Thoughts on the First Amendment
182
The Black Experience
231
ELEVEN The Ultimate Power
278
NOTES
303
INDEX
333
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 126 - The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances...
Page 60 - The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language.
Page 235 - A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project...
Page 119 - I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Page 186 - The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press ; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous...
Page 74 - It is unjust and dishonorable and there is no necessity for it ! ' Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen and at first will have a hearing and be applauded, but it will not last long ; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war...
Page 240 - If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
Page 33 - A man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in everything must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good. Therefore it is necessary for a prince, who wishes to maintain himself, to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge and not use it, according to the necessity of the case.
Page 235 - ... there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn.

About the author (2003)

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, playwright, and social activist. His many books include A People's History of the United States, which has sold more than two million copies.

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