The Texts

OUTLINE OF U.S. HISTORY The U.S. State Department commissioned this succinct–and free–text.  You’ll find that it covers the basics, which will be a useful background to use in reading Zinn and Johnson. 

THE AMERICAN YAWP  You may wish to use this online text as a supplement instead.  It’s more sophisticated in its interpretations–but also a bit more challenging than Outline.  TAY (The American Yawp) is a free, collaborative, online text that two history Ph.D. students at Rice begin in 2014.  The text, as you might be a able to discern, has multiple authors.  It is also constantly being revised and updated. If you find changes (interpretive or content) that you believe will improve the book, I urge you to contact the editors. You can find contact information at the top of each chapter.

225px-PaulJohnson1ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Paul Johnson, author of one of our class texts, is pictured here at right after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush, in 2006. Johnson, an Englishman, was born in 1928, educated in Britain, served in the British Army in the 1930s, and has spent his life as a journalist and popular (non-academic) historian. Never one to shy away from a project with a broad scope, Johnson has written over forty books, including histories of Egypt, Ireland, the entire modern world, Jewish people, the Holocaust, and the Renaissance; biographies of Napoleon, George Washington, Edward III, and Elizabeth I; and three books about fine art. A committed Roman Catholic, Johnson also worked as a speechwriter for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. [Source: Wikipedia]

Howard Zinn, the author of our second text, was born in Brooklyn, served in the Army during World War Two as an Air Force bombardier, and then took advantage of the GI Bill to attend Columbia howardzinnUniversity, eventually receiving a PhD in history. Over the course of his career, Zinn has written popular histories (The Politics of History, The Pentagon Papers: Critical Essays, Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology); memoir (You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train); and even plays. He has also served as narrator for a documentary based on our text, “The People Speak,” which was produced by Matt Damon and Josh Brolin (among others). [Sources: Identity Theory; howardzinn.org]

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