Jill Lepore, like all historians, faces a challenge. Readers of her magnificent new book, These Truths: A History of the United States, know how her story ends, so how can she keep us in suspense? She makes our foreknowledge work to her advantage, because she keeps implicitly and explicitly addressing the question, How the hell did we get here? How could a vulgar, mendacious bully who emboldens racists and sexists and xenophobes, who denounces “fake news” and is a fount of it, who embodies crass American arrogance at its worst, possibly become President?
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