A book to be read and kept for posterity, The Deadline is the art of the essay at its best.
Few, if any, historians have brought such insight, wisdom, and empathy to public discourse as Jill Lepore. Arriving at The New Yorker in 2005, Lepore, with her panoptical range and razor-sharp style, brought a transporting freshness and a literary vivacity to everything from profiles of long-dead writers to urgent constitutional analysis to an unsparing scrutiny of the woeful affairs of the nation itself. The astonishing essays collected in The Deadline offer a prismatic portrait of Americans’ techno-utopianism, frantic fractiousness, and unprecedented—but armed—aimlessness. From lockdowns and race commissions to Bratz dolls and bicycles, to the losses that haunt Lepore’s life, these essays again and again cross what she calls the deadline, the “river of time that divides the quick from the dead.” Echoing Gore Vidal’s United States in its massive intellectual erudition, The Deadline, with its remarkable juxtaposition of the political and the personal, challenges the very nature of the essay—and of history—itself.
About the Author
Jill Lepore is the David Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. She’s also the host of the podcasts The Last Archive and Elon Musk. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, her many books include the international bestseller These Truths; If Then, longlisted for the National Book Award; and the audiobook Who Killed Truth?
Lepore brings her vibrant curiosity and wide-ranging erudition to a host of topics . . . ‘All historians are coroners,’ she remarks, explaining her deft dissection of past lives, but not all bring to their writing Lepore’s grace, precision, and deep humanity. A noteworthy collection from an indispensable writer and thinker. — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Jill Lepore is America's greatest living essayist. No one else can sway so gracefully between the personal and the political, the micro and the macro, while remaining so firmly grounded in common human experience. She is a historian who can evoke the mystery of time, a memorist who uses recollection to open passages into the nation's psyche, a brilliant writer whose luminous prose can evoke at once the body and the body politic. These wonderful essays form a stunning mosaic of contemporary America and an alternative annal of our times. — Fintan O’Toole, author of We Don’t Know Ourselves