A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Press Reviews

International Socialist Review

"In this collection of thirty-five short essays, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, Howard Zinn argues that 'people, when organized, have enormous power, more than any government.' But in his introduction and throughout the book, he also suggests another powerful force necessary for changing society—the power of history. . . . As each essay examines contentious issues, from the war in Iraq to land mines to immigrant rights, ZInn demonstrates that history is not just a string of events. It is a powerful weapon that can be used to change the future. . . . The most important essays address the issues surrounding the war in Iraq, putting it into a historical context that is virutally absent—or grossly distorted—in mainstream resources. . . . But what gives this collection its most endearing quality are the essays that touch upon Zinn's own political transformation and the contribution that he has made to the very history of struggle that he records. . . . This book provides a crucial source of inspiration and strength, through the power of history, that what we do matters."

—Ellie Fingerman

Social Policy Magazine
"With sharp writing shot throughout with historical analysis, Zinn works to raise awareness not only of the individual and systemic injustices regularly dealt to Americans, but also 'the unreported resistance of people against the power of the Establishment. . .'"

The Humanist
"This is Zinn the populist, writing about the topics he holds dear, driving home points with the zeal of a true believer. . . The themes are likewise vintage Zinn—resistance to power, economic justice, war and peace, common people doing uncommon things, and the meaning of democracy. The reader will find no new grand thesis, no breakthrough theories, but rather the time-tested arguments that have endeared Zinn to several generations."
—David A. Niose

Slug Magazine
"Howard Zinn is a genius. A Power Governments Cannot Suppress will be the most enlightening and powerful thing that I will read all year. . . Overall, this collection is the perfect companion to his best selling work, A People's History of the United States. . .This is a must read for anyone struggling to right the wrong they see in this post-9/11 world."
—Jeanette Moses

O, The Oprah Magazine
"I love Howard Zinn. This collection of essays is a great book for anybody who wants to be better informed about history, regardless of their political point of view. I think Zinn is one of the most responsible, lively, and brave commentators on U.S. history now living. He's constantly sounding the wake-up call, and we owe it to ourselves and our children to listen."
—Viggo Mortensen

Dissident Voice
"Howard Zinn is so widely loved because he believes in us and invites us to believe in ourselves and each other. The tile of his latest book, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, says it all. Michael Moore's film, Sicko, has made a huge impact, not only because it reveals the horrors of the American medical system, but because it shows them to be neither necessary nor inevitable."
—Susan Rosenthal

Midwest Book Review
"The narratives...show that when people, average Joes in this country, have had enough with mistreatment or no treatment at all, the citizens will rise up, face the government, and demand that matters be made right. All thirty-five essays in this paperback book will, or should, set your teeth on edge...Highly recommended!"
—Jim Sullivan

The Christian Century
" Howard Zinn wants to do history justly. He seeks to bear witness to a past that's never exactly past, and the acts of remembering he demands of his audience (and himself) mesh seamlessly with an intense and determined awareness of present goings-on."
—David Dark

Fellowship of Reconciliation
"[A Power Governments Cannot Suppress] is an extraordinary and inspiring set of reflections that probes, dissects, and challenges all of our orthodoxies related to race, class, just wars, patriotism, law, and justice . . . One of the joys of reading Zinn is that he does all this with humor and an appreciation for the absurd."
—Gene Roman

Publishers Weekly
"Zinn collects here almost three dozen brief, passionate essays that follow in the tradition of his landmark work, A People's History of the United States . . . Readers seeking to break out of their ideological comfort zones will find much to ponder here."

Midwest Book Review
Written by historian, playwright, and World War II veteran Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress is a scathing attack against America's political and ethical failings, using examples of atrocities America perpetuated in history – from massacres in Vietnam to abuses of Chinese immigrant labor workers to complicity in the genocide of East Timor and much more – to add context to current ills such as the extended toll of the war in Iraq. "There is no certainty as to what would happen in our absence [in Iraq]. But there is absolute certainty about the result of our presence – escalating deaths on all sides." Zinn is firmly anti-death penalty and decries its usage as well. Of especial interest in A Power Governments Cannot Suppress is the author's denouncement of a disturbing tendency to compartmentalize the Holocaust, to forget the millions of non-Jews that were executed along with 6 million Jews, and worse, neglect the occurrence of modern acts of genocide thereby betraying the memory of victims of the Holocaust genocide. A strident call to action, speaking out against governmental and human misdeeds, and vociferously encouraging the reader to stand up and take action.

New York Times Book Review
"Zinn writes with an enthusiasm rarely encountered in the leaden prose of academic history. . ."


“This brilliant new book – like Howard Zinn’s presence, and his whole life, is the best possible antidote to political despair. Read it, and rejoin the struggle for a human world and a foreign policy that’s good for children.” -Daniel Ellsberg

"This terrific, strong, incisive book by Howard Zinn provides us with a penetrating critique of current U.S. policies and embraces the sweep of history. As always with Zinn’s work, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress leaves us with the faith that citizens have what it takes to confront power and to reverse the dangerous and unjust acts of our government. Zinn’s inspired voice sets him apart from the dry and dull polemics of too many social critics, which is why so many of us look to Howard as a modern-day Thoreau without the crankiness, but all the eloquence and wit of the original. A Power Governments Cannot Suppress is a very important, highly readable, and timely book that I value tremendously." -Jonathan Kozol, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Shame of The Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America

“Find here the voice of the well-educated and honorable and capable and humane United States of America which might have existed, if only absolute power had not corrupted its third-rate leaders so absolutely.” -Kurt Vonnegut, author of A Man Without a Country

"Zinn's work exemplifies an approach to history that is radical, regardless of its subject or geographical location. He tells us the untold story, the story of the world's poor, the world's workers, the world's homeless, the world's oppressed, the people who don't really qualify as real people in official histories. Howard Zinn painstakingly unearths the details that the powerful seek to airbrush away. He brings official secrets and forgotten histories into the light and, in doing so, changes the official narrative that the powerful have constructed for us." -Arundhati Roy

“Unlike the thousands of academic historians who are part of the shrill cheerleading squad for America's elites of power and wealth, Howard Zinn is a unique voice of sanity, clarity and wisdom who reads history not only to understand the present but to shape the future. In easily accessible yet profoundly insightful essays, Zinn shows us how to understand our past and how to push away the ideological charades that historians use to reenforce societal cynicism and despair which paralyzes many who might otherwise be engaged in social change work. A Power Governments Cannot Suppress should be read by every American, over and over again.” -Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun Magazine, author of The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right, and national chair of The Network of Spiritual Progressives.

"Thank you, Howard Zinn. Thank you for telling us what none of our leaders are willing to: The truth. And you tell it with such brilliance, such humanity. It is a personal honor to be able to say I am a better citizen because of you." -Michael Moore