ISBN-10:
0691153000
ISBN-13:
9780691153001
Pub. Date:
08/28/2011
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History [New in Paper]

The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History [New in Paper]

by Jill Lepore

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Overview

The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History [New in Paper]

Americans have always put the past to political ends. The Union laid claim to the Revolution—so did the Confederacy. Civil rights leaders said they were the true sons of liberty—so did Southern segregationists. This book tells the story of the centuries-long struggle over the meaning of the nation's founding, including the battle waged by the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and evangelical Christians to "take back America."

Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, offers a careful and concerned look at American history according to the far right, from the "rant heard round the world," which launched the Tea Party, to the Texas School Board's adoption of a social-studies curriculum that teaches that the United States was established as a Christian nation. Along the way, she provides rare insight into the eighteenth-century struggle for independence—a history of the Revolution, from the archives. Lepore traces the roots of the far right's reactionary history to the bicentennial in the 1970s, when no one could agree on what story a divided nation should tell about its unruly beginnings. Behind the Tea Party's Revolution, she argues, lies a nostalgic and even heartbreaking yearning for an imagined past—a time less troubled by ambiguity, strife, and uncertainty—a yearning for an America that never was.


The Whites of Their Eyes reveals that the far right has embraced a narrative about America's founding that is not only a fable but is also, finally, a variety of fundamentalism—anti-intellectual, antihistorical, and dangerously antipluralist.

In a new afterword, Lepore addresses both the recent shift in Tea Party rhetoric from the Revolution to the Constitution and the diminished role of scholars as political commentators over the last half century of public debate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691153001
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 08/28/2011
Series: Public Square Series
Edition description: With a New afterword by the author
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 344,195
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jill 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 New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity, winner of the Bancroft Prize.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ruth O’Brien ix
Prologue: Party Like It’s 1773 1
Chapter 1: Ye Olde Media 20
Chapter 2: The Book of Ages 43
Chapter 3: How to Commit Revolution 70
Chapter 4: The Past upon Its Throne 98
Chapter 5: Your Superexcellent Age 126
Epilogue: Revering America 152
Afterword to the Paperback Edition 167
Acknowledgments 177
Notes 179
Index 209

What People are Saying About This

Rakove

This book gives an informed account of the ways contemporary references to the Revolution ignore, distort, run roughshod over, yet somehow attempt seriously to evoke the events of the past. It nicely represents Lepore's distinctive genius as a historian.
Jack N. Rakove, author of "Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution"

Tony Horwitz

Modern Tea Partiers have thrown facts overboard and recast the Revolution in their own image: white, Christian, and ultraconservative. Lepore demolishes the Tea Party's founding fable with deep scholarship and devastating wit.
Tony Horwitz, author of "Confederates in the Attic"

Adam Hochschild

Jill Lepore is a national treasure. There is no other writer so at home both as a trenchant scholar of American history and as an on-the-scene observer of our present-day follies. She etches the connection between past and present with a wisdom, grace, and sparkle that makes this book even harder to put down—if that's possible—than her previous work.
Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves"

Eric Foner

The Whites of Their Eyes offers a lesson in what history actually is and how it seems constantly to be used and abused. Lepore is a superb writer.
Eric Foner, author of "Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877"

Henry Louis Gates

No one writes about our Revolutionary history and its effects upon the shape of our culture and society today with more wit, verve, and sparkling intelligence than Jill Lepore. The Whites of Their Eyes offers the most compelling look we have so far at who we were and who we have become as a nation, and provides a cool and much needed context for the heated rhetoric of this 'new' reactionary moment.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

Jeffrey Toobin

The Whites of Their Eyes shows Jill Lepore at her remarkable best—accessible, authoritative, and wise.
Jeffrey Toobin, author of "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court"

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The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle over American History 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
History is messy. Historical accounts are typically subject to political/cultural bias of the beholder. Whether you are Zinn or Schweikart your historical perspective is subject to bias. Lepore's work isn't so much history as it is historiography as it compares and critiques popular belief about the American Revolution from two separate periods and their associated popular beliefs (The American Bicentennial and today's Tea Party movement). The analysis seems sound and well reasoned. I recommend this as a source of information for those who are looking for an analysis of how and why we (Americans) venerate the heroes of the Revolutionary War and how and why this veneration skews our perception of what actually occurred during the revolution. Is this a political book? Perhaps today it is. I don't think the author has gone out of her way to be political in her conclusions, but I am certain there are many out there who will criticize this book based more on its political merit rather than on the credibility of the conclusions presented. In a few years when political focus has moved beyond the Tea Party and its opponents I believe the book will still have value as a cultural snapshot of the political environment today and in 1976.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I expected much more.
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