March 23, 2020

Valerie Miller
1 min readAug 18, 2020

Happy Women’s History Month! Today’s book rec is These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore. This is a pretty comprehensive one-volume history of the US, and it’s beautifully written and pays a lot of attention to the methods and effects of mass communication in creating and purveying American ideals. I’ve never read a general history that paid more attention to communication technology and its role in politics. There’s a lot of interesting stuff about the invention of polling and public relations in the political arena. She is also very careful to note the central irony at the heart of American history: that we founded our country on the claim of equality but have spent its entire history killing, enslaving, and degrading people of color, in one form or another, and oppressing women and queer people. In the chapters where slavery is still present, she makes sure to note the dissent and protest that was happening against it, quoting enslaved people or freedmen whenever possible, so that their voices aren’t sidestepped or forgotten like they had been for so long. She also makes a point of quoting female sources, I noticed, which I appreciated. This is only for readers who are in it for the long haul: it’s nearly 800 pages, and it can be intimidating, but it’s well worth working through.

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