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The American Beast

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399810173

Price: £20

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‘America’s greatest living essayist . . . Wonderful’ Fintan O’Toole

A panoptical vision of modern America, from the brilliant mind of Jill Lepore.

The past decade has marked a shift in America’s trajectory. Jill Lepore, the acclaimed writer and New Yorker columnist, has been tracing its contested storylines in real time, beginning with the run-up to Donald Trump’s election, through to the chaos and confusion left in its wake. Here we encounter Americans’ rising techno-utopianism, frantic fractiousness, and unprecedented – but armed – aimlessness.

With the wit and verve that has made her the acclaimed national historian of a generation, these essays reflect on the consuming public fissures of this era: culture wars and the corrosion of the media; disruptive innovation and the future of technology; constitutional crises surrounding gun rights and the racial history behind the very language of insurrection. Balancing a penetrating personal lens with indispensable history, she makes sense of life in a moment of aberration and extremity that has left our political landscape forever changed.

The American Beast offers an arresting portrait of America, capturing the tumultuous relationship between the country’s violent past and fractured present.


PRAISE FOR JILL LEPORE: The pre-eminent historian of forgotten tales from America's past
David Runciman
Lepore is America's greatest living essayist. No one else can sway so gracefully between the personal and the political, the micro and the macro, while remaining so firmly grounded in common human experience . . . Wonderful
Fintan O'Toole
A person can't help but feel inspired by the riveting intelligence and joyful curiosity of Lepore. Knowing that there is a mind like hers in the world is a hope-inducing thing
George Saunders
Lepore writes history like a poet
Dan Snow
Lepore is that rare combination in modern life of intellect, originality and style
Amanda Foreman
A compelling political narrative
David Kynaston
Lepore is a brilliant historian . . . She sees history as a narrative and digs deep to investigate the root cause of problems
Irish Times
If you want to know how America got here, Lepore's essays are essential reading, with quick insights and bomblets of surprise