Jill Lepore

discusses

The Story of America:
Essays on Origins

Date

Oct
1
Monday
October 1, 2012
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store is delighted to welcome Harvard historian and New Yorker writer JILL LEPORE for a discussion of her latest book, The Story of America: Essays on Origins.

In The Story of America, Lepore investigates American origin storiesfrom John Smith's account of the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural addressto show how American democracy is bound up with the history of print. Over the centuries, Americans have read and written their way into a political culture of ink and type. 

Part civics primer, part cultural history, The Story of America excavates the origins of everything from the paper ballot and the Constitution to the I.O.U. and the dictionary. Along the way it presents fresh readings of Benjamin Franklin's Way to Wealth, Thomas Paine's Common Sense, "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, and "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, as well as histories of lesser-known genres, including biographies of presidents, novels of immigrants, and accounts of the Depression. 

From past to present, Lepore argues, Americans have wrestled with the idea of democracy by telling stories. In this thoughtful book, Lepore offers at once a history of origin stories and a meditation on storytelling itself.

Jill Lepore
Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at the New Yorker. Her books include The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death; The Whites of Their Eyes, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice; New York Burning, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award for the best non-fiction book on race, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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