John Murray Press has signed a “searing” concise polemical history of nationalism by two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Jill Lepore.
Joe Zigmond, senior commissioning editor at John Murray, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Fiona Baird at WME, on behalf of Tina Bennett. The book, This America: The Case for the Nation, will be published in August 2019.
The publisher explained: “In recent decades, historians have largely retreated from the idea of “the nation,” in part because critical theory has corroded faith in grand narratives, and in part because the rise of darker strains of political nationalism have tainted the very idea of the nation and rendered it suspect and unpalatable. In This America, Lepore argues that liberal historians must not abandon the field. Without an honest and encompassing reckoning of our collective history, we will be at the mercy of unscrupulous demagogues who spin their own version of the national story for their own purposes.”
Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at the New Yorker. Her books include These Truths: A History of the United States (WW Norton) and The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Scribe).
Zigmond said, “Jill Lepore’s searing broadside addresses the vacuum left by historians when they rush away from a vexed subject like nationalism and nationhood. In the space vacated by those who prioritise a global view, pro-isolation voices are now defining national narratives: this is a cultural land grab of the most insidious kind.
“It is an appeal for better publishing and braver histories, and above all an understanding on the left that nations do exist, and their stories must be engaged with in balance with other narratives. A historian of real distinction, Jill has written miniature history of nationalism to remind the liberal reader of what is at stake. It is a short book with a big punch, and we are thrilled to be publishing it.”