These Truths: A History of the United States
Lepore, Jill. Forthcoming. These Truths: A History of the United States. New York: Norton.Abstract

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.


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, writes Jill Lepore in a groundbreaking investigation into the American past that places truth itself at the center of the nation’s history. In riveting prose, 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.

Praise for These Truths

“In this time of disillusionment with American politics, Jill Lepore’s beautifully written book should be essential reading for everyone who cares about the country’s future. Her history of the United States reminds us of the dilemmas that have plagued the country and the institutional strengths that have allowed us to survive as a republic for over two centuries. At a minimum, her book should be required reading for every federal officeholder.”

—Robert Dallek, author of Franklin D. Roosevelt

"No one has written with more passion and brilliance about how a flawed

and combustible America kept itself tethered to the transcendent ideals

on which it was founded. If the country is to recover from its current

crisis, These Truths will illuminate the way."

—Gary Gerstle, author of Liberty and Coercion


“Who can write a comprehensive yet lucid history of the sprawling United States in a single volume? Only Jill Lepore has the verve, wit, range, and insights to pull off this daring and provocative book. Interweaving many lively biographies, These Truths illuminates the origins of the passions and causes, which still inspire and divide Americans in an age that needs all the truth we can find.”

—Alan Taylor, author of American Revolutions

 “Lepore brings a scholar's comprehensive rigor and a poet's lyrical precision to this singular single-volume history of the United States. Understanding America's past, as she demonstrates, has always been a central American project. She knows that the "story of America" is as plural and mutable as the nation itself, and the result is a work of prismatic richness, one that rewards not just reading but rereading. This will be an instant classic.”

—Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Lies that Bind

“Anyone interested in the future of the Republic must read this book. One of our greatest historians succeeds, where so many have failed, to make sense of the whole canvas of our history. Without ignoring the horrors of conquest, slavery or recurring prejudices, she manages nonetheless to capture the epic quality of the American past. With passion, compassion, wit, and remarkable insight, Lepore brings it all to life, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. This is a manifesto for our necessarily shared future.”

—Lynn Hunt, author of History: Why it Matters

“In this inspiring and enlightening book, Jill Lepore accomplishes the grand task of telling us what we need to know about our past in order to be good citizens today. Avoiding political and ideological agendas, she confronts the contradictions that come from being born a land of both liberty and slavery, but she uses such conflicts to find meaning—and hope—in the tale of America’s progress.”

—Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History, Tulane, author of The Innovators

Lepore, Jill. 2018. “Sirens in the Night: how the victims'-rights revolution has remade American justice.” The New Yorker, May 21, 2018. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2018. “The Shorebird: Rachel Carson and the rising of the seas.” The New Yorker, March 26, 2018. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2018. “It's Alive: Two hundred years of Frankenstein.” The New Yorker, February 12, 2018. Article Bibliography
Lepore, Jill. 2018. “Valley of the Dolls: Barbie, Bratz, and the end of originality.” The New Yorker, 1/22/18.
Lepore, Jill. 2017. “Dead Weight: The burden of the corpse.” The New Yorker, October 16, 2017. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2017. “The History Test: How Should the Courts Use History?” The New Yorker, March 27, 2017. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2017. “Inquietude.” The New Yorker, October 9, 2017. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2017. “No,we cannot.” The New Yorker, June 5, 2017. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2017. “The Strategy of Truth.” The New Yorker, June 5, 2017. Article
Walsh, Colleen. 2017. “The art of the matter: Historian Jill Lepore writes her arguments to life.” Harvard Gazette. Article
Cohen, B.R. 2017. “Jill Lepore on the Challenge of Explaining Things.” Public Books April 24, 2017. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2017. “The Autumn of the Atom: How arguments about nuclear weapons shaped the climate-change debate.” The New Yorker. Article Bibliography.pdf
Roosevelt, Eleanor. 2017. “Introduction.” It's Up to the Women. New York: The Nation Books. Book
Lepore, Jill. 2016. “The Problem With Polls Isn't Technical, It's Political.” Nieman Reports, Nov 16 2016. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2016. “Esme in Neverland: The film J.D. Salinger nearly made.” The New Yorker. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2016. “Wars Within (from Aftermath: Sixteen Writers on Trump's Election).” The New Yorker. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2016. “The State of Debate: How should Presidential candidates--and voters--argue about politics?” The New Yorker. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2016. “American Exposure.”, July 12, 2016. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2016. “The War and the Roses: a tale of two Conventions.” The New Yorker. Article