Jill Lepore has Schlesinger-like aspirations, albeit updated for the twenty-first century

Meg Jacobs in Democracy:

In her latest book, Jill Lepore, a brilliant story teller, offers us the biggest story of all: who we are and how we came to be. She did that superbly in her one-volume history of the nation, These Truths (2018). But here the effort is more pointed; here, Lepore is telling the story of the past in order to fight the battles of today, and she is urging her fellow historians to join her in the campaign. By mapping out the past as a competition between liberal and illiberal nationalisms, the latter most recently reincarnated and promoted by the President of the United States, Lepore is directly entering into the political fray. Unless liberals embrace and reclaim the idea of American nationalism, they will surrender its meaning to Trump and his supporters. What’s needed, and what her history shows is possible, is a full throated defense of civic patriotism, celebrating a “dedication to equality, citizenship, and equal rights, as guaranteed by a nation of laws.” “A new Americanism,” she writes on her final pages, “would mean a devotion to equality and liberty, tolerance and inquiry.”

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