These Truths: A History of the United States

These Truths: A History of the United States

by Jill Lepore

Hardcover(Signed Edition)

$31.96 $39.95 Save 20% Current price is $31.96, Original price is $39.95. You Save 20%.
View All Available Formats & Editions


New York Times Bestseller

In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian and New Yorker writer 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?

These Truths 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," These Truths observes. "It can’t be shirked. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781324003151
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/23/2018
Edition description: Signed Edition
Pages: 960
Sales rank: 12,159
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her many books include The Secret History of Wonder Woman, a national bestseller, and Book of Ages, a finalist for the National Book Award.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Question Stated xi

Part 1 The Idea (1492-1799)

1 The Nature of the Past 3

2 The Rulers and the Ruled 31

3 Of Wars and Revolutions 72

4 The Constitution of a Nation 109

Part 2 The People (1800-1865)

5 A Democracy of Numbers 153

6 The Soul and the Machine 189

7 Of Ships and Shipwrecks 232

8 The Face of Battle 272

Part 3 The State (1866-1945)

9 Of Citizens, Persons, and People 311

10 Efficiency and the Masses 361

11 A Constitution of the Air 421

12 The Brutality of Modernity 472

Part 4 The Machine (1946-2016)

13 A World of Knowledge 521

14 Rights and Wrongs 589

15 Battle Lines 646

16 America, Disrupted 719

Epilogue: The Question Addressed 785

Acknowledgments 791

Notes 793

Illustration Credits 881

Index 889

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

These Truths: A History of the United States 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How can it be that a history book was so interesting that I couldn't put it down? This book tells the real story of how we arrived at where we are today. The good and the bad, the inspired and the foolish, the reasons why. Read the sample & you'll want the whole story. Thank you to the author for tackling a huge subject and distilling it while somehow always keeping it real and fresh.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loopie More than 1 year ago
Jill Lapore has provided us with this stunning and readable history of the United States, which peers under the rocks of time to reveal hypocrisy and tragedy along with American greatness. Stephen P.
Anonymous 13 days ago
If you believe that slavery/race or racism/bigotry factored into every single decision throughout American history, than this is the book for you! Ms Lepore can't go 10 pages without some claim that what is being discussed ties back to that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can see why Jill Lepore has a popular following. Her writing is certainly accessible and easy to read. The main concern I have about These Truths is not that I believe that most of what she covers in the book actually didn't happen. It's more a matter of what she chooses to stress and what she chooses to leave out. Imagine if a biographer wrote a book about Hank Aaron but they focused on how many times he didn't get a hit or how many times he struck out. Imagine if the writer said almost nothing about the fact that Hank Aaron was one of the greatest baseball players of all time or that at the time he played he hit more homeruns than anyone in the history of baseball. This is what These Truths is like. I wouldn't have a problem if the book was subtitled A Commentary on the History of the United States or My Thoughts on the History of the United States but that is not what it is called. Moreover, the book is being marketed as a comprehensive, one volume history of our country which is simply not accurate. Consequently, I would recommend the book for people that already have a good understanding of the history of our country but are looking for an interesting perspective. However, I am concerned that the book will be used as a text in high school and college classes where students have very little knowledge of our history in the first place.
keepssecrt More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Big events and big ideas in easily-digestible, conversational (almost) tone. I'm enjoying it very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! She does such a good job making a history book a fun read! It’s an unusual thing for me to NOT want to put a book on history down!
Aurora16 More than 1 year ago
This is a spectacularly written book. Poetry and history combined into one. Lepore is an extraordinary researcher who has given us more than just a compilation of American history: it is truly a launching pad for serious and insightful reflections about America's past and future. Kudos on an exquisite job.
Aurora16 More than 1 year ago
This is a spectacularly written book. Poetry and history combined into one. Lepore is an extraordinary researcher who has given us more than just a compilation of American history: it is truly a launching pad for serious and insightful reflections about America's past and future. Kudos on an exquisite job.