‘A thoughtful and passionate defence of her vision of American patriotism’ New York Times From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling historian, Jill Lepore, comes a bold new history of nationalism, and a plan for hope in the twenty-first century.
With dangerous forms of nationalism on the rise, at a time of much despair over the future of liberal democracy, Harvard historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore makes a stirring case for the nation – and repudiates nationalism by explaining its long history.
In part a primer on the origins of nations, The Case for the Nation explains how much of American history has been a battle between nationalism, liberal and illiberal, all the way down to the nation’s latest, bitter struggles over immigration.
Defending liberalism, as The Case for the Nation demonstrates, requires making the case for the nation. But American historians largely abandoned that defense in the 1960s when they stopped writing national history. By the 1980s they’d stopped studying the nation-state altogether and embraced globalism instead. When serious historians abandon the study of the nation, nationalism doesn’t die. Instead, it eats liberalism. But liberalism is still in there, and The Case for the Nation is an attempt to pull it out.
A manifesto for a better world, and a call for a new engagement with national narratives, The Case for the Nation reclaims the future by acknowledging the past.