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You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train


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About the Author

Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a world-renowned historian, author, playwright, and social activist best known for A People's History of the United States. His many highly acclaimed books include You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train and Three Strikes (with Dana Frank, and Robin D. G. Kelley).


Noted left-wing historian Zinn ( A People's History of the United States ) believes that activism and education are inextricable, and his memoir illuminates a well-engaged life. Teaching at Atlanta's Spelman College in the early days of the civil rights movement, he found allies in principled students like Marian Wright (now Edelman) and budding writer Alice Walker. He advised SNCC in Selma, Ala. He volunteered to fight the Nazis but, after Hiroshima, developed a skeptical pacifism he further exercised as a passionate opponent of the Vietnam War. Zinn's narrative is oddly disjointed: not until late in the book does he recount his youth in the slums of Brooklyn, his discovery of Dickens, Marx and Steinbeck and his post-WW II years as a laborer and a 27-year-old college freshman. If Zinn is a bit Pollyannish, he's also inspirational, arguing that, because much has changed in history, ``We can be surprised again. Indeed, we can do the surprising.'' (Sept.)

"A powerful, politically electric book from one of the most engaging social critics in the nation."--Jonathan Kozol

"A history and a history maker to give us hope."--Alice Walker "Zinn explains his involvement in the struggles for civil rights, against war, and in support of organized labor by citing his 'abhorrence of any kind of bullying.' These are lively tales."--Patricia O'Connell, The New York Times "Pick up this book! Start reading it! I guarantee you won't stop. The most influential teacher I've ever had continues to teach us about life and humanity and hope."--Marian Wright Edelman "A teacher who committed his politically engaged life to the belief that love is a command to action.--Colman McCarthy, The Washington Post

"A personal favorite. This autobiography by the great activist and historian...provides an eloquent, personal account of the struggles for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, and a universal paean to protest and resistance."--Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive

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