Why did Jill Lepore write an epic of U.S. history? It’s a long story

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Harvard scholar discusses spark, aims behind ambitious project, and how students helped her along the way

  • Colleen Walsh
  • The Harvard Gazette

I thought that the general reading public needs an ambitious, sweeping account of the American past … because there’s no sense of a shared past,” says historian Jill Lepore.

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is pictured along the gates of Harvard Yard. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is pictured along the gates of Harvard Yard. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Finding topics to write about has never been a problem for Jill Lepore. The Harvard historian’s fascination with everything from Wonder Woman and Frankenstein to matters of life and…

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