NYT celebrates Jill Lepore’s new book on the story of AmericaHistorians in the News
tags: Jill Lepore, These Truths
Historians can be wary of writing about the present. But sometimes, the present has other ideas.
On Election Day 2016, Jill Lepore was deep into working on “These Truths,” her sprawling new history of the United States (in the middle of her chapter about the Civil War, as it happens).
“I had planned to end with Obama’s inauguration,” she said in a recent interview in her office, deep in the stacks of Widener Library at Harvard, where she has taught since 2003. “It seemed like a good landing, not in a partisan way, but as a matter of American history. A lot of themes were popping right then.”
Then came Donald Trump’s surprise victory. “I realized I needed to change the last chapter,” she said. “It was just a watershed political moment. To not adjust to end there just seemed wrong, like a dereliction of duty as a historian.”
“These Truths,” published by W. W. Norton on Sept. 18, and weighing in at a whopping 932 pages, could not be better timed, or titled, as reviewers have noted. “It isn’t until you start reading it that you realize how much we need a book like this one at this particular moment,” Andrew Sullivan wrote in a rave in The New York Times Book Review. ...
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