Jill Lepore is an award-winning history professor at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. In her new book, These Truths: A History of the United States (September 2018), Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation.
These Truths: A History of the United States argues that 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, writes Lepore, on a fearless dedication to inquiry. These Truths tells the story of America, beginning in 1492, to ask whether the course of events has proven the nation’s founding truths, or belied them. “A nation born in contradiction, liberty in a land of slavery, will fight forever over the meaning of its history,” Lepore writes, finding meaning in those very contradictions as she weaves American history into a majestic tapestry of faith and hope, of peril and prosperity, of technological progress and moral anguish. Part spellbinding chronicle, part old-fashioned civics book, These Truths, filled with arresting sketches of Americans from John Winthrop and Frederick Douglass to Pauli Murray and Phyllis Schlafly, offers an authoritative new history of a great, and greatly troubled, nation.
Jill Lepore has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2005. Her books include The Name of War (1998), which won the Bancroft Prize; New York Burning (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History; The Story of America (2012), which was short-listed for the PEN Literary Award for the Art of the Essay; Book of Ages (2013), a finalist for the National Book Award; and The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014). Lepore received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale in 1995 and is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. In 2012, she was named a Harvard College Professor, in recognition of distinction in undergraduate teaching.