'This America' Pits Rise In Nationalism Against Championing Of Liberal Democracy

Jill Lepore, author of These Truths, argues that supporters of free and fair liberal government can't just hold their noses and wait for voters to realize that democracy is better than autocracy.
This America: The Case for the Nation, by Jill Lepore Source: Liveright

"Nations, to make sense of themselves, need some kind of agreed-upon past," Jill Lepore writes in her latest book, This America: The Case for the Nation. "They can get it from scholars or they can get it from demagogues."

We know Lepore thinks America's national history is worth studying and writing. Just last year, she published an epic, 900-plus page single-volume history at the time as "magnificent." The aim of this much, much more slender book — she calls it "a long essay, really" — is much less clear.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPolitics
Captain Who Rescued Migrants At Sea Refuses Paris Medal, Calling It Hypocritical
"Your police [steal] blankets from people that you force to live on the streets, while you raid protests and criminalize people that are standing up for rights of migrants," said Pia Klemp.
NPR7 min readSociety
A Former Slur Is Reclaimed, And Listeners Have Mixed Feelings
As language shifts, terms take on new meanings. But when is it appropriate for media organizations to reflect those changes? In recent years, the word "queer" has been increasingly seen and heard in NPR reporting, upsetting some listeners. One liste
NPR2 min readPolitics
Court Limits Display Of South Africa's Old Apartheid Flag, Citing Hateful Legacy
Saying the flag immortalizes an era of racial segregation, the Equality Court rules that it is "a vivid symbol of white supremacy and black disenfranchisement and suppression."