'These Truths' Looks At America Through The Promises Of Its Beginning

By | 2019-09-25 | including 1 item |
The title of Jill Lepore's new history of the United States should be instantly recognizable to all Americans. It comes from, of course, the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It's hard to think of a single passage more emblematic of the American ethos. But has America lived up to the ideas of the founders of this country, many of whom failed to heed their own words in the first place? That's the question that forms the basis of Lepore's magnificent book. Or as she writes, "The real dispute is between 'these truths' and the course of events: Does American history prove these truths, or does it belie them?" Writing a one-volume history of the United States is, obviously, a daunting task. There's way too much to pack into one book — Robert A. Caro, after all, has written four titanic books about the life of just one president, and he's still going. Lepore acknowledges that she's not able to cover everything: "No one could. Much is missing in these pages."
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