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.
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.