Book Review :: voices of a people’s history of the UNITED STATES in the 21st century
Guest Post by Eleanor J. Bader
In voices of a people’s history of the UNITED STATES in the 21st century: documents of hope and resistance edited by Anthony Arnove and Haley Pessin, progressives looking for honest reflection about ongoing efforts to eradicate racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and transphobia will find hard facts and clear insights. The fourth book in a series inspired by historian Howard Zinn’s now-classic A People’s History of the United States, it brings more than 100 essays, poems, speeches, and proclamations together.
The book opens with efforts to avoid war following the terrorist attacks on 9-11-2001 and then moves into other campaigns: The promotion of environmental stewardship; opposition to restrictive immigration policies; efforts to stop rape and sexual assault; protection of queer communities; and the development of mutual aid networks, among them. Although the collection sidesteps housing justice, the otherwise inclusive volume brings the words of well-known (Michelle Alexander, Kimberle Crenshaw, Colin Kaepernick, Keeanga-Yamahta Taylor) and lesser-known (Elvira Arellano, Evann Orleck-Jeter, Gustavo Madrigal) writers, theorists, and activists into a cogent and comprehensive social history.
All told, voices of a people’s history is an effective rebuttal to those who are pushing book bans, opposing LGBTQIA+ rights, and fighting liberalized treatment of asylees and refugees. It’s a powerful teaching tool as well as a good read and affirms the need for vigilance to protect our fragile democracy and extend social justice to all.
voices of a people’s history of the UNITED STATES in the 21st century: documents of hope and resistance edited by Anthony Arnove and Haley Pessin. 7 Stories Press, May 2023
Reviewer bio: Eleanor J. Bader is a Brooklyn, NY-based journalist who writes about books and domestic social issues for Truthout, Rain Taxi, The Progressive, Ms. Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Indypendent.