Jill Lepore is a writer and professor of history whose essays and books explore absences and asymmetries in the historical record. She is also a bestselling author and journalist who once wrote "History is the art of making an argument about the past by telling a story accountable to evidence." James Gleick has said of her, "Lepore is a brilliant and prolific historian with an eye for unusual and revealing stories." Susan Orlean noted, "Everything Jill Lepore writes is distinguished by intelligence, eloquence, and fresh insight." Her popular podcasts explore the themes “Who Killed Truth?” and “The Rise of Doubt.”
Lepore’s New Yorker essays reflect her many interests, as well as her attention to and probing of the historical record: “When Black History Is Unearthed, Who Gets to Speak for the Dead?” “How Impeachment Ended Up in the Constitution”, “The History of Loneliness”, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Great Equalizer”, “What Our Contagion Fables Are Really About”, “The Last Time Democracy Almost Died”, “Are Robot’s Competing for Your Job?” “Herman Melville at Home”.
As an essayist and author, Lepore writes about American history, law, literature, and politics. Her first book, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity, won the Bancroft Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of American history writing. Her book, New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Book of Ages was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Secret History of Wonder Woman, described as a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history, won the American History Book Prize. These Truths: A History of the United States, was an international bestseller named one of Time magazine's top ten non-fiction books of the decade. In 2020, she published her fourteenth book, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future. In 2021, she was named the winner of the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought. Her audio work includes hosting the podcast The Last Archive, the limited series, Elon Musk: The Evening Rocket, and The Search for Big Brown. Her new audiobook is Who Killed Truth? (Pushkin, June 13, 2023). She contributed an introduction to Paul McCartney’s book 1964: Eyes of the Storm. Her newest book, The Deadline: Essays (W W Norton, August 29, 2023), received rave reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, the Los Angeles Times and others.
Lepore is the David Woods Kemper Professor of American History and Affiliate Professor of Law at Harvard University. Additionally she is director of a long-term research project called Amend, an NEH-funded data collection of attempts to amend the U.S. Constitution. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. Other essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Times Literary Supplement, Foreign Affairs, Yale Law Journal, American Scholar, and American Quarterly; her works have been widely translated and anthologized.
Lively, funny, and argumentative, Lepore’s books have been described as surprising and enlightening, as well as elegant, sobering, beautifully written and intellectually rigorous.
Photo Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University