Top Pick in Audio, December 2018
In her new book, These Truths: A History of the United States, Jill Lepore writes, “The past is an inheritance, a gift, and a burden. . . . There’s nothing for it but to get to know it.” To make our past more knowable, Lepore has penned an astonishingly concise, exuberant and elegant one-volume American history that begins with Columbus and ends with Trump. Lepore questions, as Alexander Hamilton did, “whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice.” Lepore tells us upfront that much historical detail is left out; this is a political history, an explanation of the origins of our democratic institutions, and it lets history’s vast array of characters speak in their own words when possible. It also makes clear that slavery is an intimate, inextricable part of the American story. This is the past we need to know. Listen closely as Lepore reads with unexpected pizazz.