|with graphics||Radical History|
and Repression, Liberation Struggles
(including workers', women's,
world, 60's, and ecology struggles), and Ecofeminist
Learn from history. But don't let
yourself be limited or constrained by history. Help build the future you
The Ascent of Man, by Jacob Bronowski. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Connections, by James Burke. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Connections 2: 5 pack (video series), starring James Burke, directed by Mike Lee. While these videos are probably too expensive to purchase, you can probably rent them from a library or video store. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
Connections 3: 5 pack (video series), starring James Burke, directed by Mike Lee. While these videos are probably too expensive to purchase, you can probably rent them from a library or video store. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Buy used from Powell's Books or another source.
The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools and Ideas for the Twenty-First Century. Stewart Brand compares The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog to the 35-volume Encyclopédie (1751-1776) of Denis Diderot and states that "Diderot's Encyclopédie was the leading tool of the Enlightenment." He also uses the term "empowerment" in his article. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
People's Century: The Ordinary Men and Women Who Made the Twenthieth Century, by Godfrey Hodgson and P. Smith. The companion volume to the 26-part PBS documentary. Note: Amazon.com sells almost all of these PBS documentary videos at a discount. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Cartoon History of the United States, by Larry Gonick. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Flashbacks: Twenty-Five Years of Doonesbury, by Garry Trudeau. Doonesbury's comic book version of American history from 1968-1995. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, by William Strauss and Neil Howe. Also available in audio cassette format. They also offer a detailed website on their book. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Fast Forward: Life Inside Our Ever-Shrinking World. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by PBS.
The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World, by Jeremy Rifkin. Reviewed by Amazon.com
The Age of Access: The New Culture Where of Hypercapitalism Where All of Life Is a Paid-For Experience, by Jeremy Rifkin. Reviewed by Amazon.com
Exploitation and Repression
Exploitation is usually self-evident to the exploited. I believe the exploiters and those who benefit from exploitation often prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the exploitation.
500 years is a ballad explaining the last 500 years of conquest and how we need to shift from being conquerors to sustainers.
Third World Atlas, by Alan Thomas, Ben Crow, etc. The first edition of this book, published in 1983, includes a concise 22-page historical atlas of European colonialism and its effect on the third world. (I assume that the 1994 second edition contains at least as much info as the first edition.)
Another major problem in the 20th century has been warfare. I learned before 1986 that in the 20th century over 75 million people had been killed in over 207 wars. As far I can tell, WWI was totally pointless. WWII, while very costly, defeated fascism.
The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440-1870, by Hugh Thomas. A thorough 760-page history of the deplorable yet profitable 430-year slave trade. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Africans in America, starring Angela Bassett. Produced in 1998. A detailed 6-hour documentary on slavery's origin and history in America. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Roots, starring LeVar Burton and Ed Asner, directed by David Greene and Marvin J. Chomsky. Produced and widely viewed on TV in 1977. A personal story of how one man's African American ancestors coped with slavery before it abolished after the American Civil War. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
Roots, by Alex Haley. The book that the 1977 made-for-TV movie series is based on. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Red Flag: Communism In Russia. While the Russian Communist revolution in 1917 started out on an optimistic note and sparked a lot of idealism, Lenin developed a centralized control structure that was taken over by Joseph Stalin, who repressed both dissidents and imagined dissidents and sent an estimated 7 million people to prison camps in the second half of the 1930's. Russian Communism was eventually overthrown and the Soviet Union broke up into newly independent countries. However, the reformers have yet to build an economically viable Russian government or even an economically viable fully functioning free market economy. The level of greed and corruption in the Russian economy today probably exceeds that of the American robber baron era over 100 years ago. I wish them luck. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by PBS.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, by William Blum. The rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis (and the Gestapo and the SS), the death and destruction of World War II, and the Holocaust were clearly one of the greatest evils in the 20th century. After the Nazis started World War II, it took a 6 year World War from 1939-1945 to defeat the Nazis and their allies. I don't recommend investing the time required to read the entire book, but it does provide an authoritative account of the rise and fall of the worst dictatorship of the 20th century. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, by by Stephane Courtois, Mark Kramer (translator), Jonathan Murphy, (translator), Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, and Jean-Louis Margolin. This book carefully documents the deaths caused by Communist dictatorships throughout the 20th century and estimates that the total number of victims of Communism was between 85-100 million people. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Out of print.
Juntas United, by Peter Chippindale and Ed Harriman. Published in 1978. Out of print. In 1978, not that long ago, military dictatorships ran many countries in the southern hemisphere. This bluntly-illustrated book documents the appalling greed of and exploitation and repression by many military dictatorships back in 1978.
Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, by William Blum. During the Cold War, the U.S. military and the CIA fought and smashed a number of national liberation movements in the name of anti-communism. However, before the Cold War, the U.S. military valiantly fought a costly but necessary anti-fascist war, WWII, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and a new Democratic President in America U.S. military intervention appears to be shifting towards humanitarian interventions, such as the U.S. invasion of Haiti and the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Missing, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, directed by Constantin Costa-Gavras. If you're wondering why people want to put Pinochet on trial for crimes against humanity, this video will fill you in. In 1973, after a prolonged political conflict, General Pinochet militarily overthrow the democratically elected government of Chili with aid of ITT and the CIA. According to Juntas United, "Pinochet's army invaded Santiago, the capital, bombed the presidential palace and began systematically torturing and exterminating the people who worked for Salvador Allende's elected government." Juntas United estimates that 10% of the population fled the country within 5 years. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Romero, starring: Raul Julia, et al., directed by John Duigan. The U.S. government led by then-President Ronald Reagan spent at least 4 billion dollars funding the death-squad government of El Salvador in the 1980s. This story documents the repression, Salvadorean Roman Catholic Archbishop Romero's brave humane attempt to stop the escalating military violence, and his assassination by a right-wing death squad while he was preaching a sermon in church . I have heard an estimate that at least 20% of the Salvadorean people fled to the U.S. in response to military repression and El Salvador's civil war. (As a side note, when 500 people (including myself) were arrested and jailed in a massive nonviolent civil disobedience in front of the White House on the tenth anniversary of Archbishop Romero's assassination, the mainstream media ignored it. As we watched the TV news from our jail cell, we didn't see our protest recorded in the news. I do recall their lead story- that Redskin Dexter Manley had been busted for coke. My complaint to the Washington Post Ombudsman Richard Harwood got the response "demonstrations are passé." The police, on the other hand, deployed in force, seemed to think it was a large protest, and I heard some of them reminisce about the large anti-war May Day protest back in the early 70's.) Reviewed by Amazon.com
Publisher out of stock in Dec. 2000.
J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, by William Blum. Published in 1991. An exhaustive 846-page expose of the man who embodied corrupt repressive state power in America in the 20th century. Hoover was involved in the post-WWI Palmer Raids, McCarthyism, and Cointelpro, led the FBI for decades, and managed to blackmail/intimidate politicians for years. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Out of print.
The Secret File on J. Edgar Hoover, by PBS Home Video. Published in 1993. Already out of print. In defense of Hoover and the U.S. human rights record, let me note that Hoover caused far less damage than Hitler or Stalin.
Free online version. Free online version.
Cointelpro Papers: Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Domestic Dissent, by Ward Churchill and Jim Vanderwall. While the FBI went way overboard in the 60's, I would like to believe that they have since cleaned up their act. If understanding the government's repression and dirty tricks used against the 60's movement may help you stay alert to possible dirty tricks and police repression used today, this book may be useful for protesters. Until recently, the last large-scale Cointelpro-type activity that I was aware of was the FBI infiltration of CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of the El Salvador) and FBI hassling of political activists who traveled to Central America in the 80's. Based on the police response to the major 2000 protests, I believe it would be prudent to assume police monitoring of and probably at least some police infiltration of at least militant protest groups. I believe police were particularly interested in monitoring and limiting/repressing large street protests and in preventing any violent protests. Police misconduct in 2000 included improper mass arrests/street sweeps in DC and Philadelphia, a largely failed attempt to fully prosecute protesters in Philadelphia, including an initial one million dollar bail for one activist, alleged police brutality in Philadelphia jails, and excessive force/violence on the part of the LAPD. However, unlike the Cointelpro era, the level of police repression appears to have not reached the extremes of occasionally framing or killing protesters. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
While I have added some shocking books on exploitation and repression, including Nazi and Communist atrocities, there are still at least 3 very legitimate historical gripes that I do not yet sell books on: the Native Americans losing their land and dealing with European diseases and European conquest, the Inquisition, and the Irish Potato Famine. Sadly, Rwanda, Bosnia, the Congo, Kosovo, East Timor, Sudan, Chechnya, and other warfare zones are evidence that war and genocide still continue in these modern times.
While war, oppression, poverty, hunger, and/or famine continue to plague different areas and different people in the world, people are also trying to heal the wounds of past misfortune and past injustice. In 1997, Clinton considered making an apology for slavery and England apologized to Ireland for England's harmful role in the Irish Potato Famine. Canada recently financially compensated some of its Native American population for past injustices. In 1998, Northern Ireland appears to have ended (or at least dramatically toned down) decades of sectarian warfare. As of Dec. 1999, Clinton has apologized for past U.S. intervention in both Guatemala and Greece. And Arab-Israeli peace efforts continue in the Middle East.
Today, we are creating what will become the history of the future. Hopefully we will act as humanely and wisely as possible and create a good future.
[Note: It is possible that posting this quote on the Internet had an immediate impact. The day after I posted it, 3 historically notable agreements were announced. Here are some of the details. First, I posted the latest revised version of the preceding note on the Internet on Thursday, Nov. 12, 1998. On Friday, Nov. 13, 1998, some possibly related articles appeared on the front page and the editorial page of The Washington Post. On Saturday, Nov. 14, 1998, The Washington Post reported on their front page that 1) "Clinton, Jones Reach Settlement- President to Pay $850,000 to End Harassment Suit, Without Admission or Apology", 2) "Big Tobacco, State Officials Reach $206 Billion Deal- Pact Needs Approval of Dozens of States" (in order to "end a massive legal assault" in order to "achieve historic public health gains" and offer "the single largest economic recovery in history"), and 3) "U.S., IMF Announce Plan to Avert Brazilian Crisis- Loan Package Totals 41.5 Billion". To quote from a letter to the editor published in The Washington Post on Nov. 14, 1998, "struggles for peace and justice tend to transcend their authors and inventors."]
Publisher out of stock in Dec. 2000.
20 Years of Censored News, by Carl Jensen. The top censored or underreported news stories from 1976-1995. From Project Censored. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
A People's History of the United States: The Wall Charts, by Howard Zinn and George Kirschner. A radical history of America that is short, concise, and to the point, focusing on the lives, struggles, and political struggles of the ordinary people throughout America's history. Includes 2 large 3' by 4 1/2' posters and a 48-page oversized booklet. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. This book covers American history from 1492 to the present from the point of view of the often-exploited common people. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
A People's History of the United States- Teaching Edition, by Howard Zinn. In 1997, Howard Zinn converted his radical American history classic (with over 450,000 copies sold) into a textbook. This book covers American history from 1492 to the present from the point of view of the often-exploited common people. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Buy from Buy.com.
Liberty! The American Revolution. A 6-hour PBS documentary on the American Revolution. You can also buy it from buy.com. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
Liberty!: The American Revolution, by Thomas Fleming. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Currently out of print.
The Power of the People: Active Nonviolence in the United States, edited by Robert Cooney and Helen Michalowski. Published by New Society Publishers
Baby Boomers: Box Set. A set of 5 PBS People's Century documentary videos selected for the baby boomer generation. Includes Boomtime, Skin Deep, Picture Power, Young Blood, and Half the People. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Workers and Union Struggles
Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Organized Guide to Films About Labor, by Tom Zaniello. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais. Published in 1955 by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Strike! (South End Press Classics, V. 1), by Jeremy Brecher. This new 25th anniversary edition covers the major strikes and revolts in America from the Great Upheaval in 1877 through the 1990's. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
I also sell a documentary movie and book on Cesar Chavez and United Farm Workers Union.
- See also political music and political songbooks. -
Anti-Fascist Struggles- WWII
The Good Fight, starring Mary Dore and Sam Sills, directed by Noel Buckner. Documents the fight of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade- 3,200 Americans who volunteered to fight fascism in Spain in the late 1930's before the fascists started WWII. By the way, George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway both volunteered to fight fascism in Spain. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two, by Studs Terkel. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Feminism and Women's Struggles
The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: Not for Ourselves Alone (1999) (video), directed by Ken Burns. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony: Not for Ourselves Alone (1999), by Geoffrey C. Ward, etc. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Half The People: Women Unite And Fight For Equality. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Reviewed by PBS.
The National Women's History Project offers the Women's History Catalog.
See also the ecofeminist history section.
Civil Rights and African American Struggles
Skin Deep: The Fight Against Legislated Racism. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Reviewed by PBS.
Eyes on the Prize Box Set (video box set). A top-quality (but expensive) 14-hour PBS documentary of African-American freedom struggles in the civil rights movement from the 50's through the mid-80's. You can probably borrow or rent the videos from a library or video store. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, by Juan Williams. The companion edition to the PBS documentary film, Eyes on the Prize. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson. Based upon the life and the extensive lifetime writing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Published in Jan. 2001. Reviewed by Amazon.com
The Speeches of Martin Luther King, Powerful speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Out of print.
King, starring Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson, directed by Abby Mann. A made-for-TV movie documenting the life and untimely death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Currently out of print, but you can probably rent a copy from a video store or library.
Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett, directed by Spike Lee. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, by Taylor Branch. Also available in audio cassette format. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
- See also political songbooks. -
Civil Rights and Hispanic Struggles
Viva La Causa, 500 Years of Chicano History (version in English) (video), directed by Elizabeth Martinez and Doug Norberg. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
500 Anos Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History: in Pictures, edited by Elizabeth Martinez. Published by the Southwest Organizing Project. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Out of print.
Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (video). Reviewed by PBS.
Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, by Francisco A. Rosales. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Buy from PBS.
The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement, (video). Reviewed by PBS. You can also click here for more info on Cesar Chavez from LatinoLink.
The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement, by Susan Ferriss, Ricardo Sandoval, Diana Hembree (Editor), and Mic McKenzie. The companion volume to the PBS documentary film. You can also click here for more info on Cesar Chavez from LatinoLink. Paperback edition published in 1998. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Third World Struggles
Freedom Now: Colonial Rule Is Overthrown in India and Africa. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by PBS.
Buy from Buy.com.
Gandhi (video), by Ben Kingsley. An inspirational 2 1/2-hour movie on the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi. You can also purchase it from buy.com. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth, by Mohandas K. Gandhi. Gandhi's life, in his own words. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation (video), starring Nelson Mandela and directed by Jo Menell and Angus Gibson. Victorious ex-political prisoner and hero Nelson Mandela defeated apartheid and led a peaceful democratic transition to a multiracial South Africa. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
Guerrilla Wars: Cuba, Vietnam and Afghanistan. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by PBS. Note: nonviolence is far, far preferable to armed struggle.
Under Fire, starring Gene Hackman and Nick Nolte, directed by Roger Spottiswoode. This movie, while not a documentary, tells the story of the Nicaraguan revolution from the perspective of U.S. journalists. After the successful Nicaraguan revolution, Archbishop Oscar Romero played a valiant but unsuccessful role in trying to halt military and right-wing paramilitary abuses of power in El Salvador. I listed his movie under repression because he was martyred instead of successful. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com
People Power: The End of Soviet-Style Communism. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Reviewed by PBS.
Out of print.
The World Atlas of Revolutions, by Andrew Wheatcroft. Published in 1983. Covers "The Antecedents, Character and History of the Revolutions of the Modern Age- from the American Revolution to the Revolutionary Violence of the 1980s." Note: the author presents a starkly realistic view of the violence and turmoil inherent in violent revolutions (and therefore makes a good indirect case for nonviolent activism).
The best history of the 1960's that I'm aware of is the 6-hour PBS video series Making Sense of the Sixties. Hopefully you can rent it from a video store or library.
Buy from Buy.com.
Berkeley in the Sixties, directed by Mark Kitchell. A lively 2-hour documentary. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM) kicked off the 60's student protest movement and Berkeley was an epicenter of activism throughout the 60's. You can also buy it from buy.com. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com
Young Blood: Baby Boomers Rock Society For Change. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by PBS.
Hair (video). You can also buy it from buy.com. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com.
Buy from buy.com.
The '60s (video). This 200-minute movie, while not a documentary, conveys the rebellious spirit of the 60's. Produced in 1999. You can also buy it from buy.com. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Also reviewed by Reel.com
Endangered Planet. Reviewed by Amazon.com. Reviewed by PBS.
The Green Revolution: The American Environmental Movement, 1962-1992, by Kirkpatrick Sale. A 108-page history of the Green or environmental movement in America from 1962-1992. Chapters include origins, sixties seedtime, 1962-70, doomsday decade, 1970-1980, the Reagan reaction, 1980-1988, endangered earth, 1988-1992, and prospects. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future, by Riane Eisler. This book gets some rave reviews. Ashley Montagu even calls it "the most important book since Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. It analyzes spirituality and society from prehistory through the feminist and liberation movements today from a feminist perspective. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
Also see the section on Women's Spirituality for additional radical history books and videos that span the timeframe from prehistory through the emergence of patriarchy and later the emergence of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations, by Clive Ponting. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The National Women's History Project offers the Women's History Catalog.
Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, by Jeremy Rifkin. This book traces the important history of cattle and cattle culture from prehistory through today. He puts a different spin on history, beginning by pointing out that the Indo-European or Kurgan invaders who conquered Old Europe in prehistory (and who, according to Eisler and Gimbutas introduced patriarchy and militarism to Old Europe) had a cattle-based economy. He claims that "Much of Western history is an account of the ongoing struggle between two groupings, one herdsmen, the other agriculturalist, the first depending on grass, the second on grain." [Beyond Beef, page 25.] Reviewed by Amazon.com.
For most of the last 500 years, European colonialism has dominated world history. Why did this occur? Here is one author's not-necessarily PC explanation:
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond. This book covers the last 13,000 years of human history, focusing heavily on biology and human interaction with the earth's climate, crops, and livestock. This book claims that Europe, due to a favorable climate, received a jump start in economic development that led to the development of "guns, germs, and steel" that enabled 500 years of European colonialism. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Cartoon History of the Universe/Volumes 1-7, by Larry Gonick. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
The Cartoon History of the Universe II: From the Springtime of China to the Fall of Rome/Volumes 8-13, by Larry Gonick. Reviewed by Amazon.com.
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