Critical Review of the Book 'These Truths' by Jill Lepore

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“These Truths: A History of the United States” refers to an American history book written by Jill Lepore. The book focuses on tracing the history of American society, law, technology, and politics from the Discovery Age till present. The book gained mixed reviews from the critics and tend to be popular among the citizens of the US. This paper critically reviews the book and explores both the positive and negative elements associated with the book.


The book aims to discuss the struggle of America and how the nation reached the present state. It is a noteworthy point to consider that Jill Lepore categorized the truths into 3 categories. These include the sovereignty of people, natural rights and political equity (Lepore, 71). The author focused on tracing the application and development of such concepts in the history of America, identifying where the nation failed and where succeeded. She clearly explained the paranoid and desperate politics that aimed to hinder the progress of the nation.

One of the evident elements indicated in the book is that the author aimed to connect the spread of literacy and mass media to the rapid growth of the United States. It can be considered a contradictory point since it is observed that the media led to a certain disturbance in the country eventually leading to riots (Graber et al., 67). There seem to be differences among different authors regarding the role of media in the US development.

One of the quotes from the book includes “A nation born in contradiction, liberty in a land of slavery, sovereignty in a land of conquest, will fight, forever, over the meaning of its history” (Lepore, 124). The author made this sentence as the argument. She argued that the U.S. has been subjected to various hurdles, slavery, and fight to conquest. She basically points out that the history of US cannot be neglected and the people need to carry it even after such progress. The author explores the battle of colonies within America for land.

One of the positive points highlighted in the book is the progressive story of America. Some authors seem to hide the possible positive elements that led to the rapid progress of America. The critical analysis revealed that the author related progress not with economic might and greater military, not with high-tech society or with shining cities. Rather, the progress was due to the country getting closer to exploring the vision of the Founders and the techniques and strategies utilized for gaining progress. Another positive element includes that Lepore honestly revealed certain aspects associated with the history of the United States. She wholeheartedly explained how America managed to get the present status it possesses.


Jill Lepore strived to clearly indicate the historical aspects related to the United States. However, it is argued that Lepore should have highlighted different ways in which marginalized people and minorities in the US tend to suffer oppression. The author does not provide any answer regarding this aspect and it counts as a negative point regarding the book. She described the inter-sectionality rules. She said that it involves “intricate, identity-based hierarchies of suffering and virtue”. The definition of intersectionality described in the book cannot be accepted. I disagree with this type of concept described regarding intersectionality. However, I agree with the author that it is not the only element which contains importance. Certain elements including Supreme Court rulings, protections and laws tend to matter much in the long term.

A critical point indicated in the book is related to slavery in America. The author pertinently pointed out that throughout the American colonies during the 17th century, slavery was practiced. This aspect negatively affected the minorities and attempted to hamper the progress of the nation. This argument is supported by Wiecek (29), as the author clearly points out that slavery had to be eliminated from the nation in order to enable rapid progress. Lepore further highlighted the terrible legacy of slavery and how it affected a number of human beings residing in the region.


This paper provided a critical review of the book ‘These Truths’, written by Jill Lepore. One of the major points revealed from the analysis is that the author categorized the truths into 3 categories, including the sovereignty of people, natural rights and political equity. She indicated the role of media in the rapid progress of the United States. However, it is a contradictory point, since it is observed that media led to a certain disturbance in the country eventually leading to riots. It is concluded that the definition of intersectionality given in the book cannot be agreed upon since it describes it as intricate hierarchies of suffering. It is a debatable point and cannot be accepted. Further, the author honestly explained the slavery in the history of the United States. It is concluded that the history of US explained in ‘These Truths’ is political and vivid.

Work Cited

Graber, Doris A., and Johanna Dunaway. Mass media and American politics. Cq Press, 2017.

Lepore, Jill. "These Truths: A History of the United States." W.W Norton


Wiecek, William M. The Sources of Anti-Slavery Constitutionalism in America, 1760-1848. Cornell University Press, 2018.

November 13, 2023



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