Friday, December 12, 2008

Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore

Jane Kamensky is a professor of American history and chair of the History Department at Brandeis University. Her publications include The Exchange Artist and Governing the Tongue, among other books.

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University, where she is the chair of the History and Literature Program. Her books include The Name of War and A Is for American. Her most recent book, New York Burning, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

They are the co-authors of a new novel, Blindspot.

From Cynthia Crossen's interview with the authors in the Wall Street Journal:

WSJ: What made Boston in 1764 a good setting for a historical novel?

Ms. Kamensky: As practicing historians, that period is our research home, the center of gravity of our nonfiction work. I occasionally sign a check 1808 instead of 2008. The people of that place and time are very different from us, yet their politics are enough like ours that we get them.

I think some readers may be surprised that not all the colonists wanted freedom from England.

Ms. Lepore: As a historian, I'm often frustrated that the story of the American Revolution seems so overdetermined. There's this sense that it was inevitable and headlong, when as a scholar, you know it was halting, confused, and there was a lot of chance involved.
Read the complete Q & A.

--Marshal Zeringue