Truth Has a Power of Its Own

Conversations About A People’s History

Never before published, an extraordinarily inspiring and radical conversation between Howard Zinn and PBS/NPR journalist Ray Suarez, wherein American history is turned upside down—published to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Zinn’s death

“When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress.” —Howard Zinn

Truth Has a Power of Its Own is an engrossing collection of never-before-published conversations with Howard Zinn, conducted by the distinguished broadcast journalist Ray Suarez in 2007, that covers the course of American history from Columbus to the War on Terror from the perspective of ordinary people—including slaves, workers, immigrants, women, and Native Americans.

Viewed through the lens of Zinn’s own life as a soldier, historian, and activist and using his paradigm-shifting People’s History of the United States as a point of departure, these conversations explore the American Revolution, the Civil War, the labor battles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, U.S. imperialism from the Indian Wars to the War on Terrorism, World Wars I and II, the Cold War, and the fight for equality and immigrant rights, all from an unapologetically radical standpoint. Longtime admirers and a new generation of readers alike will be fascinated to learn about Zinn’s thought processes, rationale, motivations, and approach to his now-iconic historical work.

Suarez’s probing questions and Zinn’s humane (and often humorous) voice—along with his keen moral vision—shine through every one of these lively and thought-provoking conversations, showing that Zinn’s work is as relevant as ever.


“No historian—and few public figures—have ever made radical politics as deliriously and deliciously attractive as Howard Zinn. These conversations with Ray Suarez resurrect Howard for a new generation, including those youth who are fed up with politics as usual. Buy it for the young rabble rouser in your life. As Howard liked to say, ‘We must know our history not only to have knowledge of the past, but to change the future.’”
—Dave Zirin, author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States and sports editor, The Nation
Truth Has a Power of Its Own is a virtual epilogue to Zinn’s classic work, A People’s History of the United States, and it eloquently shows that Zinn’s mission was not to demonstrate our exceptionalism or our superiority. Instead, he urges us to look squarely at our stained past for the glimmers of human decency and courage which so often have welled up among the ordinary people historians too often ignore.”
—Frances Fox Piven, distinguished professor of political science emerita, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
“In this short, rich volume, Zinn connects the dots from the abolitionists to Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement, leads the reader to question whether there is any ‘good war,’ and encourages us all to see civil disobedience as important as voting in a democracy. It is a guidebook for organizers.”
—Deborah Menkart, executive director of Teaching for Change and co-director of the Zinn Education Project
“The conversations in Truth Has a Power of Its Own sing with Howard Zinn’s wisdom, humanity, and wit. Zinn explains how despite unspeakable brutality and exploitation throughout U.S. history, we find hope rising from the social movements that have sought equality and justice. This is a marvelous introduction to the history—a people’s history—of our country.”
—Bill Bigelow, curriculum editor, Rethinking Schools, and co-director of the Zinn Education Project

News and Reviews


“[Truth Has a Power of Its Own] provides eloquent and hopeful insight into Zinn’s vision of America’s past as well as its future … a valuable supplement for readers familiar with Zinn's A People’s History of the United States, and an eloquently hopeful introduction for those who haven't yet encou

Kirkus Reviews

“Free-wheeling and illuminating... A readable and nondogmatic book that will appeal to young people especially as a way to rethink conventional history.” 

Goodreads Reviews