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The People Speak


A Message from Anthony Arnove

My new book with Colin Firth, THE PEOPLE SPEAK: VOICES THAT CHANGED BRITAIN, is just out from Canongate Books.

The book, inspired by the work of people’s historian Howard Zinn, is a documentary collection of dramatic voices of protest and dissent from the twelfth century to the present.

You can read about the book here:

There are some very moving readings and musical performances — including by Vanessa Redgrave, a last-minute surprise guest — from our launch event here:

Great photos from the event can be viewed here:

An excerpt of Colin Firth’s introduction and some selections from the book can be found here:

And you can check out our BBC Culture Show profile here:

I hope the book might be of interest.




The People Speak tells the story of Britain through the voices of the visionaries, dissenters, rebels and everyday folk who took on the Establishment and stood up for what they believed in. Here are their stories, letters, speeches and songs, from John Ball to Daniel Defoe; from Thomas Paine to Oscar Wilde; from the peasants’ revolts to the suffragists to the anti-war demonstrators of today. Spanning almost one thousand years and over 150 individual voices, these are some of the most powerful words in our history.

Colin Firth (CBE) is a Bafta- and Academy Award-winning actor. His films include The English Patient, Fever Pitch, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Girl with a Pearl Earring, A Single Man and The King’s Speech. Alongside Anthony Arnove, he was instrumental in bringing a televised stage performance of The People Speak to the UK in 2010.

Anthony Arnove is the author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, editor of Iraq Under Siege, Howard Zinn Speaks and The Essential Chomsky, and co-author, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People’s History of the United States and Terrorism and War. He is the co-director of The People Speak with Chris Moore and Howard Zinn.

David Horspool is a historian and editor at the Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of two previous books: Why Alfred Burned the Cakes and The English Rebel: One Thousand Years of Trouble-making from the Normans to the Nineties. He writes for The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the New York Times.


‘The People Speak’ at Canongate Books:




‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:


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Jane Addams


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Please join Voices of a People’s History for a free screening of Howard Zinn’s film …


… as part of the new Chicago Voices pilot project with a free Educators Toolkit giveaway

Thursday, October 13, 2011
6:00 – 8:00pm

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
The University of Illinois at Chicago
800 S. Halsted (M/C 051)
Chicago, IL 60607

Free and open to the public.

Directions to the museum:

A screening of THE PEOPLE SPEAK (110 min) will be introduced by Chicago Voices project director Mariah Neuroth and poet, educator and activist Kevin Coval of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, immediately followed by an opportunity for educators to sign up for and receive on the spot the free Chicago Voices Educators Toolkit.

There are no tickets. Seating is general admission: first come, first seated.

Event details below and here:

After the screening, Chicago area public school teachers and community educators can pick up the free Chicago Voices Educators Toolkit, which includes a DVD of the film The People Speak, a preloaded 2GB carabiner USB flash drive with lesson plans, books, teaching guides, articles, and other multimedia materials for the classroom, all packaged in a cotton tote bag.

To learn more about what’s in the Chicago Voices Educators Toolkit, who’s eligible for a toolkit, and how to get yours, please visit:

To sign up online IN ADVANCE for the Chicago Voices Educators Toolkit, please visit:

Only one toolkit per educator and if you sign up in advance, we’ll ask you for identification when you pick it up on October 13 after the screening. You can also pick up a toolkit at other Chicago Voices events throughout the year.

The People Speak is inspired by Howard Zinn’s books A People’s History of the United States – first published in 1980 and one of the bestselling history books in the United States – and the companion primary source anthology, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, edited with Anthony Arnove.

This beautiful and moving film features the actual words (in letters, songs, poems, speeches, and manifestoes) of rebels, dissenters and visionaries from our past – and present. These dramatic moments in U.S. history are brought to life by a group of remarkable musicians and actors, including Matt Damon, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, John Legend, Lupe Fiasco, Kerry Washington, David Strathairn,and many more.

The film had its broadcast premiere on The History Channel in December 2009, to critical acclaim:
“Striking, exhilaratingŠthe performances are thrilling.” -Los Angeles Times
“Works beautifullyŠEach passionate reading flows out of the previous one.” -Boston Globe
“A terrifically educational and entertaining film for all ages.” -Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

During the 2011-2012 school year, the Chicago Voices pilot project will bring free educational resources; public performing arts programming; free documentary film screenings; and, professional development workshops to educators and students in Chicago area public schools and in community and education organizations across the city.

The Chicago Voices project is sponsored by Lannan Foundation (, a family foundation established in Chicago in 1960, now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Questions about this event or Chicago Voices? Contact


Voices of a People’s History:

Chicago Voices project:

The People Speak:

Howard Zinn (1922-2010), Voices a People’s History co-founder:

Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival:

Kevin Coval:

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum:



‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)


‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (recording) and (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  


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