I just finished the longest book I have ever read. Through 789 unwasted pages, Jill Lepore, a staff writer at The New Yorker and a professor of American History at Harvard University, has written a compelling and comprehensive history of America spanning over five centuries. Beginning in 1492 with Christopher Columbus first discovered the Indians and ending in 2018 with the current Trump administration, Ms. Lepore told the naked truth of our great yet flawed nation through the concoction of illuminating politics, fascinating biographies, arresting journalism, and sprawling technology.
What I appreciate most is Ms. Lepore’s fearless approach. She isn’t shy away from our painful past, in particular the way America treated Native American, African American, Japanese American, Chinese, and Mexican. When I first set my foot on the “land of opportunity” as an eleven-year-old immigrant, all I knew was that I was about to embark on a journey to find the “American Dream.” I had white teachers who not only taught me English, but also welcomed me with their open arms. I had African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American mentors who made sure I had the best education I could get for my future. I also had co-workers from different backgrounds and we collaborated together as a team. Even though I have been aware of racism, I always felt integrated until the rise of Donald Trump. Having read this book, I see why the references of “Make America Great Again” and “America First” appealed to the white nationalist.
Although Vietnam was my birthplace and I will never forget the first decade of my life, I have lived in the United States for almost three decades. I am a U.S. citizen and America is my home. Despite the current political divisiveness, I strongly believe in the resiliency of democracy of this nation. Not only it will not die, it will become stronger in the next few years or decades as showed through the history of our nation in this book.
Many thanks to my wife for buying me this book for Christmas. I am glad that I had taken the time to read it. If you want to learn about the unique story of America, I highly recommend this book. Even though it might seem long, Ms. Lepore’s clear, concise, and engaging prose will keep you turning the pages. Trust me, I was never interested in reading any form of history. Then again, I would read any book written by any staff writer from The New Yorker.