These Truths (Lepore) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers Talking Points to help start a discussion for THESE TRUTHS … then take off on your own:

1. In a New York Times review, Jill Lepore said she wanted to write this lengthy volume of U.S. history because "it hasn't been attempted in a long time, and it's important, and it seemed worth a try." Do you think it's important, and if so why? What light does today's political climate shed on this book's importance or relevance?

2. The thrust of much of the book is about the country's struggle with political equality and natural rights. What are "natural rights." And why has the struggle been so long and so hard-fought?

3. Talk about the way in which women and people of color were excluded from the Constitution. How did the founders' own lives reflect the jarring discrepancies between their exalted language in favor of rights-for-all but ultimately settling for rights-for-some?

4. Talk about the various politicians/statesmen Lepore includes in her telling. On whom in particular does she turn a sharp eye (and pen)? Whom does she admire?

5. In what way has Jill Lepore's book enlightened you? Even if you're a history buff and fairly well versed in the discipline, was there something in particular that surprised you in her volume? What areas of history have you already been familiar with and has These Truths added to your understanding or altered it?

6. When it comes to contemporary politics, what does Lepore have to say about both conservatives and liberals? What is her beef with the rise of technology and Silicon Valley?

7. What do you think of the book's final metaphor: the U.S. as a troubled, weakened ship on a "doom-black sea"?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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