The Inquiring Reader
Reviews, critiques, and thoughts

Jill Lepore

  • If Then

    The rise of political consulting, advertising, and computers divided and dissected voters into smaller interest groups. Data was collected and processed at blinding speeds to predict how people would vote. The Simulmatics Corporation was founded in this era. It claimed to accurately forecast the outcome of presidential elections. It stumbled along, occasionally making correct predictions, often not. The Department of Defense would hire the company to predict insurgency in Vietnam, which Simulmatics would then use domestically to predict urban riots. It would thrive and collapse under its pseudo-scientific claims, but lay the groundwork for predictive analytics in the 21st century.

  • These Truths

    The history of the United States can be told in the language of prosperity, of war, of progress, or of oppression, among many others. Lepore depicts it as an endless ideological struggle, of ideas and philosophies that drive the American experiment from a shaky past into an uncertain, but hopeful future. From the first European settlers to make landfall on the American continent to the end of Barack Obama's presidency, Lepore writes an extensive and compelling history of our nation.

  • In Every Dark Hour

    What is the future of American democracy? Headlines posit that it's failing and there is nothing we can do about it. Jill Lepore takes us back to the 1930s when democracies around the world were truly in peril, and argues that with civic-mindedness we can write our own future.

  • How We Got to Sesame Street

    Sesame Street was created during a time of abundant government spending in social and educational projects. Not too long after, the Reagan years brought deregulation and enormous cuts in public spending. How did it hold up?