Sean Wilentz is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton. His most recent book, No Property in Man: ­Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding, has just been published in paperback. (October 2019)

Follow Sean Wilentz on Twitter: @seanwilentz.


The Culmination of Republican Decay

Sarah Palin with Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, Ames, Iowa, January 2016

American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump

by Tim Alberta
Early in Tim Alberta’s American Carnage, Peter Wehner, the head of President George W. Bush’s Office of Strategic Initiatives under Senior Adviser Karl Rove, remarks bitterly that John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 presaged the rise of Donald Trump. Wehner deplores how his party, …

How Our Politics Broke

If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How It Might Be Saved

by Michael Tomasky
In his appearance before the House Oversight Committee in late February, President Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen saved his most disturbing words for his concluding statement, when he said he fears that if Trump loses the 2020 election, “there will never be a peaceful transition of power.” Cohen …

Presumed Guilty

Hillary Clinton at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, before the state primary, February 2016

Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation

by Ken Starr
Twenty years after Kenneth Starr delivered to Congress his report recommending the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the former independent counsel has delivered a second report, in the form of a memoir, condemning Clinton all over again.

The American Revolutions

Titus Kaphar: Her Mother’s Mother’s Mother, 2014; from the exhibition ‘UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light,’ which includes work by Kaphar and Ken Gonzales-Day.It is on view at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., through January 6, 2019.

These Truths: A History of the United States

by Jill Lepore
Jill Lepore has achieved singular prominence as an American historian. The David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard, she has written eleven books over the last twenty years, among them a Bancroft Prize winner and finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Since 2005, …

The High Table Liberal

Alexandra and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. at Tavern on the Green, New York City, May 1987; photograph by Ron Galella

Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian

by Richard Aldous
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. loved American politics. Nominating conventions thrilled him. Late-night schmoozing on the campaign trail was hard to beat. “I must say,” he wrote in his journal in 1960, “that I adore sitting around hotel rooms with politicians and newspapermen exchanging gossip over drinks.” Some of the precincts he …