Dear Commons Community,
I have just finished reading Jill Lepore’s These Truths: A History of the United States, a gift from my colleague, Chet Jordan. At nine hundred pages, it is a deep dive into a broad subject. However, I found it a good read especially since she covers issues related to equity, race, and gender well. It starts with Christopher Columbus and ends with Donald Trump. Here are some pearls:
- John Quincy Adams on Andrew Jackson: “The man is a barbarian who could not write a sentence and hardly could spell his own name.”
- Maria Stuart (1831) commenting on the country’s expansionism and treatment of native Americans: “Oh America, America, foul and indelible is thy stain.”
- Henry Luce on scientific management: “Show me a man who thinks he is objective, and I will show you a man who is deceiving himself.”
- W.E.B Du Bois on the lynching of Sam Hose: “One could not be a calm, cool and detached scientist while Negroes were lynched, murdered, and starved.”
- Mary Grace Hopper (1958) on computer technology: “It is the current aim to replace, as far as possible, the human brain.”
- Earl Warren (hours before his death) on Richard Nixon: “If Nixon is not forced to turn over the tapes of his conversations with the ring of men who were conversing on their violations of the law then liberty will soon be dead in this country”.
- Pat Buchanan on the Iraq War: “In 2003, the United States invaded a country that did not threaten us, did not attack us, and did not want war with us, to disarm it of weapons we have since discovered it did not have.”
If you want to revisit our country’s history or maybe read about it for the first time, try Lepore!