Publications

2012
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “The Unseen: How a magazine article became a declaration of war on poverty.” Smithsonian, September 2012.
Koch, Kathryn. 2012. “From Cradle to Grave: Lepore's 'Mansion'.” Harvard Gazette. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Batman's Gun: Why the Comic-Book Hero Was Disarmed.” newyorker.com. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Sorry! Obama, Romney and the Game of Politics.” The New Yorker, June 30, 2012. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Obama, The Prequel: An Origin Story.” The New Yorker, June 25, 2012. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Elegy for a School Year.” newyorker.com. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Death, Sex, and Vampires.” New York Times. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Benched: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Judicial Independence.” The New Yorker, June 18, 2012. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “The Life of Julia.” newyorker.com. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Overexposed.” newyorker.com. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “The Lost Amendment.” newyorker.com. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Battleground America: One Nation, Under the Gun.” The New Yorker, April 23, 2012. Article
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Look It Up.” newyorker.com. Website
Lepore, Jill. 2012. “Komen's Choice.” newyorker.com. Website
The Story of America:  Essays on Origins
Lepore, J. 2012. The Story of America: Essays on Origins. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Abstract

A finalist for the 2013 PEN Literary Award for the Art of the Essay

In The Story of America, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore investigates American origin stories—from John Smith’s account of the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural address—to show how American democracy is bound up with the history of print. Over the centuries, Americans have read and written their way into a political culture of ink and type.
Part civics primer, part cultural history, The Story of America excavates the origins of everything from the paper ballot and the Constitution to the I.O.U. and the dictionary. Along the way it presents fresh readings of Benjamin Franklin’s Way to Wealth; Thomas Paine’s Common Sense; “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe; and “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; as well as histories of lesser-known genres, including biographies of presidents, novels of immigrants, and accounts of the Depression. From past to present, Lepore argues, Americans have wrestled with the idea of democracy by telling stories. In this thoughtful and provocative book, Lepore offers at once a history of origin stories and a meditation on storytelling itself.

The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death
Lepore, J. 2012. The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death. New York: Knopf.Abstract

A finalist for the 2013 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

Renowned Harvard scholar and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has written a strikingly original, ingeniously conceived and beautifully crafted history of American ideas about life and death from before the cradle to beyond the grave.

How does life begin? What does it mean? What happens when we die? “All anyone can do is ask,” Lepore writes. “That’s why any history of ideas about life and death has to be, like this book, a history of curiosity.” Lepore starts that history with the story of a seventeenth-century Englishman who had the idea that all life begins with an egg, and ends it with an American who, in the 1970s, began freezing the dead. In between, life got longer, the stages of life multiplied, and matters of life and death moved from the library to the laboratory, from the humanities to the sciences. Lately, debates about life and death have determined the course of American politics. Each of these debates has a history. Investigating the surprising origins of the stuff of everyday life—from board games to breast pumps—Lepore argues that the age of discovery, Darwin, and the Space Age turned ideas about life on earth topsy-turvy. “New worlds were found,” she writes, and “old paradises were lost.” As much a meditation on the present as an excavation of the past, The Mansion of Happiness is delightful, learned, and altogether beguiling.

2011
Lepore, J. 2011. “Old School: Fifteen Retro Revivals.” newyorker.com. Publisher's Version
Lepore, J. 2011. “Personhood and Parenthood.” newyorker.com. Publisher's Version
Lepore, J. 2011. “How birth control and abortion became politicized.” Fresh Air. NPR. Audio
Lepore, J. 2011. “Birthright: What's next for Planned Parenthood.” The New Yorker. Article Bibliography

Pages