Jill Lepore’s Call for a New Americanism

This America Book CoverIn 2018, Jill Lepore wrote what I would consider to be the best single-volume history of the United States, titled These Truths. The theme was clear, that the US, despite its messy history, was founded on admirable principles that it has slowly and arduously fought to live up to—and continues to do so. The result was an objective history, one that didn’t hide from the atrocities or ignore the positives, centered around a unifying and inspiring theme.

It is in comparison to this 789-page masterpiece that makes it difficult to fairly judge Lepore’s latest book, This America: The Case for the Nation. At a short 138 pages, This America is more a long-form essay than a book, as the author acknowledges. It also, in what is both a positive and a negative, repeats much of the content and underlying themes from These Truths.

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Robert Reich on How to Save Capitalism

Saving Capitalism book coverRobert Reich, the former US secretary of labor and professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, outlines his ideas on how to fix the current state of capitalism in his book Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few. This is a critically important book for a few reasons.

First, it exposes the meaninglessness of the “free market” vs. government intervention debate by showing that the market cannot exist in the first place without the laws, rules, contracts, and enforcement mechanisms that government creates. The relevant debate, therefore, is not between “less government” or “more regulation” but on who exactly stands to benefit or lose under the current arrangements.

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