You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Book – Non-fiction. By Howard Zinn. 2002. 224 pages.
An engaging memoir by Howard Zinn which offers his life history in the context of the politics and events of his lifetime.

  • Time Periods: 20th Century | Reading Levels: High School | Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction

youcantbeneutralThis is the classic memoir of Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, where he tells his personal stories about fifty years of fighting for social change.

A former bombardier in WWII, Zinn emerged in the civil rights movement as a powerful voice for justice. Although he’s a fierce critic, he gives us reason to hope that by learning from history and engaging politically, we can make a difference in the world.

A teacher who committed his politically engaged life to the belief that love is a command to action. —Colman McCarthy, The Washington Post

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

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

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

ISBN: 9780807071274 | Published by Beacon Press.

Here is an interview with Howard Zinn on Democracy Now!, conducted on April 27, 2005. It begins with an excerpt from the film, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.”

Howard Zinn: “To Be Neutral, To Be Passive In A Situation Is To Collaborate With Whatever Is Going On”

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