“Nothing short of a masterpiece.”—NPR Books
A New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation.
Widely hailed for its “sweeping, sobering account of the American past” (New York Times Book Review), Jill Lepore’s one-volume history of America places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—“these truths,” Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise?
These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore wrestles with the state of American politics, the legacy of slavery, the persistence of inequality, and the nature of technological change. “A nation born in contradiction… will fight, forever, over the meaning of its history,” Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship. With These Truths, Lepore has produced a book that will shape our view of American history for decades to come.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It’s all here: the actual histories of the United States, the high ideals and low meanness, the cool empiricism of the country’s founding, and the violent, berserker streak that runs through everything that came afterwards. Harvard historian Jill Lepore’s writing is charming and attentive; she refers to These Truths as “an old-fashioned civics book,” but its ambition and wit make it different from any textbook we’ve encountered. Skeptical and searching, this is American history alive with the values of the country it examines.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A needed historical POV
It’s great to find a history of how the issues were argued and not just who came out on top.
Revisionist history as usual.