Princeton Pre-Read

Class of 2024 Selection: This America

President Eisgruber's Princeton Pre-read selection for the Class of 2024 is This America: The Case for the Nation by Jill Lepore, the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University.

The book explores the idea of the nation. It asks how Americans, and the people of other nations, can see themselves as united by a shared commitment to genuinely inclusive ideals despite differences and disagreements that might pull them apart.  President Eisgruber hopes that This America will inspire students, faculty, and staff to discuss and debate the relationship between patriotism and human rights, and to consider how an honest reckoning with history might affect the nation’s future.

Copies of This America will be available to community members with distribution beginning over the summer. For more information, please contact Tessa Yelenik in the Office of Finance and Treasury at 609-258-2755 or

Learn More about This America

During your time at Princeton you will be encouraged to seek the truth about questions of consequence, even when the answers challenge conventional wisdom.  Learning how to articulate your position and respect the opinions of those with whom you disagree is a central part of the academic experience.  President Eisgruber encourages you to learn more about the book’s arguments and to form your own views about their merits.


“By engaging with our country’s painful past (and present) in an intellectually honest way, she has created a book that truly does encapsulate the American story in all its pain and all its triumph” – Michael Schaub, NPR  

“Ambitious.... a thoughtful and passionate defense of her vision of American patriotism.... [Lepore] dedicates her book to her father, ‘whose immigrant parents named him Amerigo in 1924, the year Congress passed a law banning immigrants like them.’” – Michael Lind, New York Times

 “A sharp, short history of nationalism.... A frank, well-written look at the dangers we face. We ignore them at our peril.” Kirkus Reviews

 “A hopeful book for all who believe that America’s ideals are stronger than our demagogues.”
Michael Bloomberg

Previous Pre-Read Selections

Class of 2017: The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Class of 2018: Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf

Class of 2019: Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele

Class of 2020: Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen

Class of 2021: What is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller

Class of 2022: Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech by Keith Whittington

Class of 2023: Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy by James Williams

Book jacket for This America: The Case for the Nation by Jill Lepore