These Truths

These Truths

A History of the United States

Book - 2018
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"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, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history. 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? [This book] 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, ' [this book] observes. 'It can't be shirked. 'There's nothing for it but to get to know it'"--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
Multiscript Copyrightdate: 018
ISBN: 9780393635249
0393635244
Branch Call Number: 973 L598t 2018
Characteristics: xx, 932 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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Portland Arts & Lectures: Jill Lepore, October 11, 2018


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danielpslavik
Jan 22, 2019

January 2020 Bookclub Book

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farbrite
Jan 13, 2019

This is more of a political history than a traditional history, while also evaluating the trends that shaped American politics and government. It's actually fairly easy to read, although it might take a couple of checkouts to finish it! It certainly illuminated the past in ways that my formal education didn't. I found myself particularly interested in her view of more recent events that I experienced myself. I don't generally read nonfiction, but this was definitely worth my time.

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bwinlr
Nov 15, 2018

Just began reading this book, after seeing it in The New York Times Book Review. It's fascinating. What Ms. Lepore has set out to do is write an honest, objective history of the United States, i.e., neither overly positive nor negative; just factual. Simply stated: it's not the type of history book we would have read in high school.

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