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These Truths: A History of the United States

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Author: Jill Lepore

Written in elegiac prose, Lepore's groundbreaking investigation 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. And it rests, too, on a fearless dedication to inquiry, Lepore argues, because self-government depends on it. 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 traces the intertwined histories of American politics, law, journalism, and technology, from the colonial town meeting to the nineteenth-century party machine, from talk radio to twenty-first-century Internet polls, from Magna Carta to the Patriot Act, from the printing press to Facebook News.

Along the way, Lepore's sovereign chronicle is filled with arresting sketches of both well-known and lesser-known Americans, from a parade of presidents and a rogues' gallery of political mischief makers to the intrepid leaders of protest movements, including Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist orator; William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate and ultimately tragic populist; Pauli Murray, the visionary civil rights strategist; and Phyllis Schlafly, the uncredited architect of modern conservatism.

Americans are descended from slaves and slave owners, from conquerors and the conquered, from immigrants and from people who have fought to end immigration. 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. The past is an inheritance, a gift and a burden, These Truths observes. It can't be shirked. There's nothing for it but to get to know it.

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Published: 09/18/2018
Pages: 960
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 2.85lbs
Size: 9.40h x 6.40w x 1.90d
ISBN: 9780393635249

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 04/15/2018 pg. 47
Kirkus Reviews 06/15/2018 pg. 71
Booklist 07/01/2018 pg. 12
Publishers Weekly 07/16/2018
Kirkus Reviews Fall Preview 08/15/2018 pg. 35
Library Journal 09/01/2018 pg. 67

About the Author
Lepore, Jill: - Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, her many books include the international bestseller These Truths and This America.

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