Jill Lepore David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History, Harvard University
In the spring of 1970, just after the shootings at Kent State, Newsweek magazine asked six historians to answer a single question: “What ails the American spirit?” Lepore revisits that moment, and the decades since, to argue that American politics—and American political discourse—has been seized by the rhetoric, and the do-or-die urgency, of matters of life and death. Jill Lepore is a professor of American history at Harvard Univesity and chair of Harvard’s History and Literature Program. She is a contributing writer at the New Yorker. Her book New York Burning:Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan (Knopf 2005) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. Her most recent book is The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History (Princeton University Press 2010).