Powerful Books about Powerful People
Here at Leftbooks

This is the site where many of the folks who've made real differences in bettering people's lives are featured. These are the people left out of much of the history books and educational materials. But, don't worry, books like Harriet Tubman - Secret Agent, telling her amazing story of courage and victory along with the book Ain't Nothing But a Man, exposing the truth behind the stories about John Henry, bring these figures alive in young minds. And, biographies and writings of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Helen Keller, Assata Shakur, Vladamir Lenin, Karl Marx, Arundhati Roy, Howard Zinn, Nikki Giovanni, Michael Parenti, Leslie Feinberg, Mumia Abu Jamal and many more make the struggle for human progress real and inspirational. So, you've come to the right place - enjoy.

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Ain't Nothing But a Man—
My Quest to Find the Real John Henry
By Scott Reynolds Nelson with Marc Aronson


The Civil War was just over, and all across the South, African-American men were building the railroads. The songs they sang tell their stories, if you only know how to listen.

African-American men, some 40,000 of them, built and repaired the train tracks that snake through the South. They lined up the track, hammered it into place, and blasted tunnels through mountains to bring the trains through. No one ever wrote about them; we can only see them in photographs or find their remains in graves. But we can hear them through their songs. One of these songs is "John Henry," the story of a strong Black man who competed against a steam drill and won.

In Ain't Nothing but a Man, historian Scott Nelson takes young readers along with him as he explores old railroad tunnels, hunts through hand-written ledgers, and finds a clue hidden in a postcard. On the way, he uncovers chilling truths that not only led him to the real John Henry but finally allow us to hear a message from those 40,000 missing men.

Nelson notes,"I loved John Henry as a kid but hated history. I thought it was all abnout names and dates. I hope other kids will learn from this book that history is something you do, not just something you read."

Natl Geographic, hardcover, 64 glossy pages with graphics and photos, Index, Appendices, Notes

Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent
By Thomas B Allen

After Harriet Tubman escaped slavery she went back again and again to guide other slaves to freedom. Slaveholders in the South offered rewards of thousands of dollars to catch this small Black woman who carried a gun and was ready to use it.

It's 1863, Harriet Tubman is facing one of the biggest—and most dangerous—challenges of her life. She risked her life countless times to lead runaway slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Now she has a new roll—that of a Union spy!

The outcome of a secret night raid deep into Confederate territory depends on the accuracy of the intelligence she and other Black spies have gathered.

"...illustrated with numerous archival images, maps, and woodcuts, and the documentation is meticulous...an excellent resource for students' research."—Booklist

Natl Geographic, softcover, index, appendix, time line, 191pp

Colossus with feet of clay
Low-Wage Capitalism
What the new globalized, high-tech imperialism
means for the class struggle in the U.S
By Fred Goldstein


With the capitalist system demonstrably unfair, irrational, and prone to intermittent crises, it is useful, indeed refreshing, to see a Marxist analysis of globalization and its effects on working people. Fred Goldstein's LOW-WAGE CAPITALISM does exactly that.—Howard Zinn

Lucid, deeply accurate and informative, as relevant and useful as a book can be, Goldstein offers a compelling analysis of the exploitative world of global corporate capitalism. —Michael Parenti author of Contrary Notions

Low wage capitalism by Fred Goldstein is a most timely and important work, as the working class prepares for a 'fightback' during the greatest crisis of capitalism since the great depression.—Clarence Thomas, Executive Board ILWU Local 10 and co chair of the Million Worker March Movement

In this period of economic uncertainty, Fred Goldstein's 'Low-Wage Capitalism' could not be better timed. Beautifully written, deeply considered and backed by impressive research, this is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the true nature of the world we live in and the factors that have led to so much turmoil. ...Employing Marxism as an analytical method, Goldstein has succeeded in creating a bracing corrective to the pabulum served by the corporate media, and a salutary review of the labor movement. Urgently recommended. —Gregory Elich author of Strange Liberators

Low-Wage Capitalism is truly outstanding, starting with the first sentence in chapter one. Hits us like a body punch, and provides the perfect context for what we all need to know about the evolving conditions of workers and their struggles. I know of no book in this area that covers so much, so clearly and—when it comes to what is to be done—so convincingly. Deserves the widest readership.—Bertell Olman, professor of politics at NYU

Low-Wage Capitalism describes in sweeping detail the drastic effect on the working class in the United States of new technology and the restructuring of global capitalism in the post-Soviet era. It uses Karl Marx's law of wages and other findings to show that these developments are not only continuing to drive down wages but are creating the material basis for future social upheaval.

World View Forum, soft cover, 338pp, index, bibliography, end notes

- just in time for Black History Month

CD: On the Move—
Sounds Inspired by Mumia Abu-Jamal


It's time to lift every voice for Mumia Abu-Jamal. In less than a month's time, over twenty artists, producers, writers and activists helped to create this important collection of words and music. With one voice we've said that unless all of us are free, then none of us are. If we are to succeed, we must be on the side of freedom and justice.

Double CD set, 20 tracks, 90 minutes of a variety of genres of music, including Hip Hop, Jazz, R&B, Rock, and Spoken Word. Performers on the set: The Hard Wash, Public Enemy, Nana Soul, Yaw, Stephanie Rice, Fred Ho, Hasan Salaam, Immortal Technique, Res and "the voice of the voiceless"—Mumia Abu-Jamal. And this is just half of the featured artists.

As Mumia Abu-Jamal states in the final track,"...Music excites,inspires, teaches and it delights. ... This is a wonderful work of resistance. Centuries ago in the U.S. Southlands, when drums were outlawed and our only instruments were our voices, our feet, and our chains we made a music that pierced the heart and arrested the soul. These are their descendants singing a new song of freedom. In gratitude and love to you all, from death row this is Mumia Abu-Jamal."

A Black Waxx Nation, Inc., 94:53 min, 2 disc set, 20 tracks

DVD: Disappearing Voices:
The Decline of Black Radio


Black Waxx Multimedia -

Director U-Savior Washington delivers a dynamic, gritty, controversial, inspirational and analytical documentary film. Disappearing Voices is a must-have for historians and aficionados of broadcasting, entertainment and politics.

Essential for those fighting to protect and take back non-corporate community-based radio.

This documentary shows that the tactics used by the corporate media to destroy Black radio are the same tactics being used today to undermine all community radio.

Disappearing Voices—The Decline of Black Radio examines the history of broadcasting in general and Black Radio in particular. Featuring interviews with many prominent voices in radio and politics, it investigates what made Black Radio unique and highlights the careers of some of the jocks who changed the landscape of American Radio forever.

Black Waxx Multimedia, 72 min, English, widescreen

To Die for the People
by Huey Newton

"Newton's ability to see theoretically beyond most individuals of his time, is part of his genius. The opportunity to recognize that genius and see its applicability to our own times is what is most significant about this new edition"—Robert Stanley Oden, former Panther, professor of Government, California State U, Sacramento

Huey P Newton was the founder of the Black Panther Party and its chief theoretician. This new release of a classic collection of his writings and speeches traces the development of Newton's personal and political thinking.

Here is the compelling portrait of a young revolutionary determined to create a people's ethos to deal with injustice and cruelty.

"To die for the ...racists...is lighter than a feather But to die for the people...is heavier than any mountain and deeper than any sea—Huey P. Newton

City Lights, softcover,b/w photos, 236pp


Slavery by Another Name:
The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from
the Civil War to World War II
By Douglas A. Blackmon

Pulitzer Prize Winner

In this groundbreaking historical exposé. Douglas A Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in U.S. history—an "Age of Neoslavery" that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.

Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies—including U.S. Steel—that profited most from neoslavery and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Anchor, softcover, b/w historical photos, index, notes, bibliography, 468pp


Medical Apartheid
By Harriet A. Washington

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of Black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between Black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some Black populations. It reveals how Blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections.

Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of Blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

Harlem Moon, softcover, index, bibliography, notes, 499

Educate our Youth:

A Young People's History of the United States
By Howard Zinn

Young people have been making important contributions to history for centureies. There's Anyokah, the child who helped bring written language to her Cherokee people. There are the young laborers who—to the benefit of their peers toiling in cotton mills, canneries and mines&mddash;stood up for themselves with the National Child Labor Committee's Declaration of Dependence. And there's John Tinker, the high school student who fought all the way to the Supreme Court for freedom of expression at school—and won.

These stories puncutatethis illustrated Young Adult edition of A People's History of the United States which brings to light the viewpoints of workers, slaves, immigrants, women, Native Americans, and others whowse stories, and their impact, are rarely included in history books. In presenting a radical new way of understanding U.S. history, Howard Zinn reminds younger readers that the best of the U.S. is shaped by our dissident voices, not our military generals.

Seven Stories, softcover, 448 pp, index, photos



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