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These Truths: A History of the United States

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  75 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
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,
Hardcover, 960 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by W. W. Norton Company
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Ryan B
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In an age of political polarization, Jill Lepore reminds us that there has never been an age without political polarization. The faintest familiarity with United States history should convince you that political conflict has deep roots.

Some examples: the revolutionaries and loyalists fought vigorously over the issue of independence during the Revolutionary War; the Federalists and Anti-Federalists fought over federal versus state rights; the Mexican-American War was vigorously defended and oppos
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oof. This is a very, very good book. Difficult at times, depressing at others, always well-written, well-put together.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's hard to write a history of the United States from the beginning to now. Lepore is perfectly suited for the task --she's a great historian and a great writer. The best thing about this American history is that it includes the women and the racial minorities that are usually left out. As such, it's a history of America--warts and all. With so much ground to cover, it would be easy to leave out the incidental players, but as Lepore shows brilliantly, it's impossible to understand America witho ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
A pessimistic history that runs close to 1000 pages. Of course America has committed sins, but are there any positives to be found? According to Lepore, very, very few.
Nadine Jones
Oof ... i want to read this, but ... 960 pages?!
Heard about on the Fully Booked Podcast at

Joanne Annabannabobanna
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jill Lepore, professor of American History at Harvard University, staff writer at The New Yorker, and the author of many books, including her latest, These Truths: A History of the United States, talks about her new take on the full scope of U.S. history - an exploration of how well American democracy has satisfied the three "self-evident" truths in the Declaration of Independence.
Prof Jill Lepore: "It is in fact a right to revolution that's inscribed in our founding documents."
What did the fou
Mark Burris
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
By too many reviewers this book has been held up as a 1-volume history of America, from Columbus to Trump. Actually, it's much more of a history of ideas, specifically of the founding and guiding of "truths," and as such, it flows through the centuries with insight and perspective. Lepore's an excellent writer, building transitions and inserting humorous commentary that delighted this reader.

"Columbus widened the world, Gutenberg made it spin faster." (p. 13)
"Dewey ... proved about as good a ca
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I want my kids to use in their AP US History classes in high school. Please. I'm begging.

Covers everything but covers the world inside the worlds. What a gift.
Robin Morris
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is more a history of civil rights in the United States, not so much a general "History of the United States".

I expected a general history, and think the book would have been better it the author included another 300 pages or so to round it out. That said, a very good book.
Michael Schill
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent but depressing.
Joseph Hoff
Oct 02, 2018 is currently reading it
Yes! This is one of those history books which every one should read! It examines major moments in American history through the lens of the basic "truths" of American society. A very powerful historical book!
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bs-pabluim, history
This book has been heavily touted.

That makes it all the more disconcerting to see an error as early as page 8 and a whopper to boot.

Indeed, beyond that as representative of numerous errors of fact, there’s numerous arguable errors of interpretation, and dubious decisions what to contain and what to omit.

Behind THAT, as Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, as far as I can tell, there’s no “there” there.

With that, let’s dig in.

Page 8: No, pre-Columbian American Indians did NOT herd pigs because there
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a masterpiece. A few minor quibbles aside, this is an absolutely tremendous work of non-fiction writing and I cannot recommend it highly enough to every American. We all know the general myths of American history and even if you're an avid history-reader, like myself, there's still new insights and anecdotes that Lepore brings to vivid and fascinating light. I was hugely impressed with, and somewhat jealous of, her idea to base this chronological political history on the questions of how ...more
Kim Forney
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the book! I loved how the author did not leave anything out (It was an objective view of the events)! The US history is fraught with good and bad: Opinions, Facts, Hyperbole, and Propaganda. The author explains how our history milestones were incorporated with Partisanship mixed with Religious and Moral beliefs. It is extremely interesting how Americans integrate these things into their own personal value and belief system. It is long; however, I would recommend this book to anyone who l ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I highly recommend the audio book, read by the theatrical author. I was so lucky to see Jill Lepore at Literary Arts in Portland last week - she is truly a stable genius and a guardian of our history! Rollicking, inclusive and exquisitely timed, "The Truths" should be required reading for thinking people who want to know how all this ends. In darkness, of course!
Jane Somers
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A history of the United States that acknowledges the way events affected everyone. I learned a lot, and I will refer back to the hard copy of the book. The production values of the audio book could use some improvement.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
My review is way too long for here, but if you'd like to read it, here:

Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book that I have been enthusiastically recommending to nearly everyone. These Truths is among the very best books on American history I have ever read.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great writing (of course). Deep insights and chock-full of nuggets in every chapter. Well worth the 789 pages of reading.
M.L. Rudolph
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Oct 17, 2018
Lynn Nelson
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Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History, Harvard College Professor, and chair of Harvard's History and Literature Program. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award for the best non-fiction book on race, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; The Name of War (Knopf, 1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Ralph Waldo Emerson P
“That the revival of Christianity coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration, an anniversary made all the more mystical when the news spread that both Jefferson and Adams had died that very day, July 4, 1826, as if by the hand of God, meant that the Declaration itself took on a religious cast. The self-evident, secular truths of the Declaration of Independence became, to evangelical Americans, the truths of revealed religion.” 2 likes
“The past is an inheritance, a gift and a burden. It can’t be shirked. You carry it everywhere. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it.” 1 likes
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