Historian Jill Lepore giving a lecture at Bowdoin College. Photo courtesy of Mindy Leder, The Bowdoin Orient.
About a dozen Lincoln Academy students attended a filled-to-capacity lecture with historian Jill Lepore, Thursday, December 5th in Bowdoin College’s Kresge Auditorium. Lepore is a professor of history at Harvard University and, most recently, author of an ambitious new history of the United States, These Truths, recently published in paperback and described by NPR as “Nothing short of a masterpiece.” The book is the first full history of the nation in about a generation.
Lepore’s presentation was both engaging and enlightening. As the Bowdoin Orient described it, “Pacing back and forth across the Kresge stage, Lepore used graphic representations of America—everything from Aztec maps to early republican political cartoons to Jasper Johns paintings—to illustrate how America, as much a set of ideals as a geographical unit, has never been an uncontested concept. From Columbus to Trump, Lepore argued, America has existed in between what it is and what its citizens, defenders and critics believe it ought to be.”
Professor Lepore took questions and engaged particularly with the high school students, two of whom had questions about how emerging technologies have changed the pace of the spread of information. According to Brian O’Mahoney, history teacher at LA, “It was a rare opportunity for our students to engage with a working historian of such renown. They all came away with plenty to think about.”