Jill Lepore on Our Current “Epistemological Crisis”

These TruthsThe Harvard historian talks with JSTOR Daily about her new book: These Truths: A History of the United States.  Here is a taste of Hope Reese’s interview:

“It’s not that there haven’t been deceptive presidents or sneaky campaigns or nefarious duplicity and deception in American history,” historian Jill Lepore told me. “But the sort of systematic, epistemological crisis that we’re in now––there really isn’t anything like it.”

Lepore, a professor of history at Harvard, staff writer at The New Yorker, and author of several books, was explaining how, with the rise of 48 million fake accounts on Twitter and the development of fake news, we live in an unprecedented time in terms of the stability of our democracy. Lepore has been analyzing and interpreting history for decades, and her most recent book––These Truths: A History of the United States––is a comprehensive and insightful political history of America.

Lepore did not mince words, calling Trump’s presidency a “failure”––saying that considered in the context of U.S. presidencies, his has demonstrated a “staggering level of misconduct”––and, more than once, referring to our current political moment as “standing on the edge of a cliff.”

I spoke to Lepore about how she sees our current moment in the context of history, how our country became so polarized, and why she sees Phyllis Schlafly as one of the most “underappreciated” women in the conservative movement, and other current issues.

Here is our conversation, edited for length and clarity.

Read the interview here.

2 thoughts on “Jill Lepore on Our Current “Epistemological Crisis”

  1. Thank you for the Lepore review. My grand daughter is in Avanced US? History and I sent her a copy to supplement whatever in textbook. Her dad is a conservative Trumper while I describe myself as a fallen Republican. My grandfathers were both active in GOP as Roosevelt Republicans.
    At time of review Imhad just scanned the Hillsdale feed,

    October 2018 • Volume 47, Number 10
    America’s Cold Civil War

    Charles R. Kesler
    Editor, Claremont Review of Books

    As the cold civil war has become more violent and less civility I wondered had those who promote themselves as followers of Jesus have forgotten how he approached with dialogue and care for all.

    Believe me we seem bent on not being stewards for our fellow man and for our environment.


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