In 2018, Jill Lepore wrote what I would consider to be the best single-volume history of the United States, titled These Truths. The theme was clear, that the US, despite its messy history, was founded on admirable principles that it has slowly and arduously fought to live up to—and continues to do so. The result was an objective history, one that didn’t hide from the atrocities or ignore the positives, centered around a unifying and inspiring theme.
It is in comparison to this 789-page masterpiece that makes it difficult to fairly judge Lepore’s latest book, This America: The Case for the Nation. At a short 138 pages, This America is more a long-form essay than a book, as the author acknowledges. It also, in what is both a positive and a negative, repeats much of the content and underlying themes from These Truths.