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These Truths

A History of the United States
Written by: Jill Lepore
Narrated by: Jill Lepore
Length: 29 hrs
Categories: History, Americas
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation. The American experiment rests on three ideas - "these truths", Jefferson called them - political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, "[O]n a dedication to inquiry, fearless and unflinching", writes Jill Lepore in a groundbreaking investigation into the American past that places truth itself at the center of the nation's history.  

In riveting prose, These Truths tells the story of America, beginning in 1492, to ask whether the course of events has proven the nation's founding truths or belied them.  

"A nation born in contradiction, liberty in a land of slavery, sovereignty in a land of conquest, will fight, forever, over the meaning of its history", Lepore writes, finding meaning in those very contradictions as she weaves American history into a majestic tapestry of faith and hope, of peril and prosperity, of technological progress and moral anguish.  

A spellbinding chronicle filled with arresting sketches of Americans from John Winthrop and Frederick Douglass to Pauli Murray and Phyllis Schlafly, These Truths offers an authoritative new history of a great, and greatly troubled, nation.  

©2018 Jill Lepore (P)2018 Recorded Books
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    5 out of 5 stars

Detailed, Interesting and Informative

Very long. Difficult to retain but gives a good idea about American history. The later years were rushed through but then I guess the readers today know it all well.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie Seavello
  • 28-10-18

The narrator is not easy to listen to

I had to give up on this. The content is good, but the narrator ranges too far between a shout and a whisper It's painful. Had to return it.

60 people found this helpful

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  • MindSpiker
  • 21-11-18

Good Story but distracting sound engineering

The big challenge of the book was that the sound engineering so such that when listening I had to turn the volume way up to hear what was being said. Often times the key word in the point being made was whispered for dramatic emphasis. This resulted in me having to go back a and listen again after adjusting the volume. I probably did this about 200 times while listening to the book. An enormous pain in the ass. Other times, again for dramatic emphasis, the words would be shouted out very loudly. I tried to leave the volume up so that I could catch all the lows but found myself getting annoyed at how loud I had to make it. "Was this damaging my hearing?" I kept asking. While I enjoyed the books subject matter I kept finding myself so pissed off that I had a hard time focusing on anything but the problem with the volume.

Other than the volume issues, I did find the book engaging and learned a lot of new facts. The book emphasized the role of color prejudice as the primary force shaping history. Although the book covers a huge subject and I can understand how some things had to be left out or glossed over, I did find it weird that the author choose to leave out the role of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

All this said; this story was a different take on non-fiction history in that it was given with a lot of emotion. This was mostly a good thing as it made he subject matter more engaging. The performance of the narrator, also the author, expressed this emotion by going high and low, soft and hard, to emphasize points.

I don't blame the narrator for the audio failings of this book, I blame the sound engineer. Please don't engineer audio books that are so physically challenging to hear.

55 people found this helpful

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  • foreigncrimereader
  • 02-12-18

How to ruin a great story

It’s one perspective of our history and interesting but please don’t permit the author to narrate unless you have conducted an audition.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Karen F. White
  • 01-11-18

Bad narration

I found the content interesting but was very put off by the authors narration. She would rush certain parts, try to change her voice to no effect. Probably should have got a professional to read this

43 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-09-18

Excellent book

I am just in awe of this phenomenal book! Professor Lepore is a decent narrator of her own words. Though not as polished as a professional voice artist, her voice conveys her passion for the subject matter and it's a neat experience being "taught" by a true expert,

43 people found this helpful

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  • Alvin
  • 11-11-18

Good history. Terrible reader

Jill LePore has written a fine US history highlighting the oppressed, but her decision to read the book was a big mistake that should be left to the pros.

16 people found this helpful

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  • New Orleans reader
  • 13-10-18

Author's narration diminished this book.

I am disappointed to have to report that the author's narration very much diminished the power of this book. It is a long book. I understand the author's intimate knowledge of the points she wanted to make and the emphasis she wished to convey, but her cadence and volume control often worked against her and resulted in dropping off the last words of the sentence. Her voice became wearing and ultimately was distracting. Many authors are not the best readers of their work. I was left with the feeling that I wish I could take her course and listen to her lectures over a semester rather than having her read her book to me.
Substantively, LePore's focus on political truths through the long arc of history, particularly the way that slavery was at the heart of the founders' concerns in drafting the constitution, was eyeopening. It was difficult to listen to the many ways our country has failed to deliver on the promise of freedom and equality. I felt that she was often repetitive and tended to make dramatic pronouncements that her sources did not quite support. I would recommend the book with reservations.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Jack McLean
  • 16-11-18

Good book. Terrible narration by the author

Jill LePore has written a long overdue history of the United States.

It is the first such book that I have read (listened to) that gives due recognition of slavery throughout our history as well as women's rights. The content is thorough, well-researched, timely, and well-written.

My only regret is that I purchased the Audible version instead of the hard cover. The book is narrated by the author. I cannot understate how awful the narration is. Ms. Lepore has as sing-songy voice that goes from highs to lows to non existent. It is a complete distraction which impacted greatly on my ability to not only enjoy, but to also even understand the content. The narration is also peppered with errors. She often mispronounces or totally misses words and, instead of deleting and rereading, she rereads with the errors intact.

All in all, a good book with sloppy and totally unprofessional narration. I don't know how Audible ever let this get released.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Brett Frazer
  • 17-10-18

Chapters out of order

This is a wonderful book. Jill Lepore is both a dedicated historian and gifted storyteller, which makes this book phenomenal. It’s as dense and rich as Charles Mann’s 1491 (which was very informative but, in my opinion, dry and difficult to read for long period of time). But it’s engaging like a novel! I highly recommend *buying the book*

I bought both the audible and kindle versions so I could experiment with enjoying the book I different formats. Reading the book on the kindle is a delight. I am unable to listen on Audible, however, because the chapters are totally out of order, which completely ruins the purported seamless experience of having the book on both audible and kindle. I’ve tried redownloading the book multiple times, but I keep reaching the same result.

In conclusion, I recommend actually reading this one, rather than listening.

27 people found this helpful

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  • K Kravitz
  • 29-11-18

Terrible Reader

I did not understand Ms Lepore’s reading. She read too fast and slurred her words. Unfortunately, I had to stop listening. Too bad she did not let a professional read the book.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Charlie Sammonds
  • 16-01-19

A history of the United States for our time

This audiobook tells the story of America from Columbus to Trump. It has been a quite a while since I’ve been this impressed by a history book, and I listen to a lot. These Truths is a splendidly written account that the author intends to also be a civics primer. I learned a great deal about America and I enjoyed listening to it immensely. Jill Lepore looks at the subject through the theme of truth, as the nation was founded on a truth claim.

There is a heavy focus on the news media and how the development of new ways of reporting affected outcomes in each generation, which is highly relevant to present concerns. You will come away from this book knowing a lot about political campaigns. There is also for topics that aren’t usually covered in history books, such as the impact of computation (which was fascinating to discover). I particularly enjoyed finding out about the growth of Christian fundamentalism and the lives of Federick Douglas and Phyllis Schlafly. The biographical details of the figures in this book was a highlight. Lepore also discusses the writing of history and how it has been used in the past. The roots of the current partisan divides and polarization are explained.

The author narrates the book, and she does an excellent job in bringing the story to life. I was also impressed by her pronunciations. She got the correct pronunciation of Edward Coke's name (I've heard history teachers get his name wrong.)

One issue is that the last chapter repeats, but that is a minor issue.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Rance
  • 22-05-20

Outstanding

This is a deeply compelling history of the United States of America from the first landings to the present. The most striking characteristic of this history is the impact of slavery on this country - and that it is on-going.
The reading is effective and entertaining. Don’t hesitate to purchase this amazing book.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-04-20

What happened to the indigenous Americans?

Some truths are obviously easier to say than others. The Amerindian truth disappears at about the halfway mark in this book.

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  • Nadia
  • 05-04-20

One of the cases when the author shouldn’t have narrated

Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the book as couldn’t bear the voice
Will probably get a real book later on

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  • J. Jong
  • 19-01-20

American political history: 15th century to 2016

As the title suggests, These Truths tells the history of an American idea, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and elaborated in the Constitution. These truths, Lepore reports, have been contestable and contested from the very beginning. In this sense, history ever repeats itself. Some readers will accuse Lepore’s telling of “liberalism”, but others will point out that she doesn’t say enough about Native American history after the early years. I think she’s at her best closet to the present, which is no mean feat, given our usual inability to be astute about what’s right before us. Her contrasting of liberal and conservative pieties in the 20th century is especially thought-provoking. On performance, Lepore is not a professional voice actor: however, her reading reminds us how valuable it is to understand the cadence of the text as intended.

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  • ed picton
  • 14-01-20

A formidable work expertly crafted by Jill Lepore

I found this to be a compelling listen. Narrated by the author with many intonations when the pitch was raised to a higher level for emphasis and used to great effect. There are many fascinating aspects to this history of the USA. I found it to be a riveting commentary at times, with explanations and interpretations clearly expressed. It is truly awesome to be able to produce such a scholarly and erudite piece of work and I enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Paul Murphy
  • 19-11-19

Excellent history of modern America.

The central theme of the book is that many of the assumptions and themes that dominate current American politics haven't been around that long and that they were created in the service of capital not democracy, fairness or even the Constitution.

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  • G
  • 13-08-19

well paced

This tour of American history is comprehensive and well paced. She explores not only the lives of leaders but also African Americans and women throughout.

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  • Nicholas Gruen
  • 21-03-20

Interesting content but precious delivery

This book served the purpose I bought it for – I wanted a long book of interest but not high arousal that I could listen to trying to drift off during insomnia.

There are lots of interesting facts related, but I found the writing and the delivery (also by the author) to have a precious tone that was offputting. I can't quite put my finger on the problem, but it has a kind of self-consciousness about it. It's not far from popular American exceptionalism, but the author tries to moderate this with a kind of tragic tone. It's a good try, but I found it a little grating – it's a kind of faux profundity.

I like the idea of authors reading their books. This author does a good job. But for me there's a problem. I want the volume right down but I still want to be able to hear the words which I can in lots of other audible books. This doesn't happen in this recording. If you turn the volume down you miss a lot of words.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bernie
  • 18-03-19

There is a reason for having specialist narrators

The content was fine but I wish Jill hadn’t done the narration herself.
The reading was too fast and uneven. Was struggling to stay with it but when I heard the sound of pages turning I just couldn’t listen anymore.
Was like being back in school with members of class taking turns to read a textbook.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-03-19

No better time than now.

We so often forget, or more likely don’t know our history. This book sheds real light on just how we have arrived at our current political destination.