U.S. History Reading List

A People’s History of the United States

1492 to the Present 
Howard Zinn, Harpers
A newly updated edition of the book that, over the past 20 years since it was first published, has educated thousands of people about who the true heroes and villains have been in U.S. history. Written by a longtime Movement participant.


Jeremy Brecher, South End Press
Since its original publication in 1972, no book has done as much as Jeremy Brecher’s Strike! to bring American labor history to a wide audience. Strike! narrates the dramatic story of repeated, massive, and often violent revolts by ordinary working people in America. Strike! tells this exciting hidden history from the point of view of the rank-and-file workers who lived it.


Accumulation and Power

An Economic History of the United States
Richard du Boff, M.E. Sharpe
A classic study of U.S. economic history…


Who Built America?

Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture and Society
Nelson Lichtenstein, American Social History Project, Worth Publ.
This is a comprehensive reinterpretation of American history “from the bottom up.” In two volumes it surveys both the political, economic, and military history of the elite, but also the history of community, family, gender roles, race, and ethnicity. Also available on CD with masses of additional illustrative material.

Main Currents in Modern American History

Gabriel Kolko, Harper Collins
Once described in a review as “a black mass on American history,” this book provides an ironic and profoundly radical revision of the historical development of the American political and economic system since the late 19th century. Kolko portrays a country that, since World War II, has faced escalating international failure resulting from the internal problems of its economic and political system

The Story of American Freedom

Eric Foner, W.W. Norton
Foner examines the historical development of the concept of freedom and the wildly different meanings attributed to it by different people in different places, from Puritans to Abolitions to New Dealers to today’s right wing libertarians. The book probes deeply and at the same time engagingly with the concepts through which Americans have articulated (or concealed) what they mean by freedom.

Visions of History

During the last quarter of the 20th century, radical historians reshaped American history, moving the story of African Americans, women, workers, and other “non-elite” groups from its periphery to its core, while moving beyond celebration and nationalism to a more profound and critical view of the American experience. This book presents interviews with many of the people who pioneered that unexpectedly successful effort.



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