As a City on a Hill: The Story of America's Most Famous Lay Sermon

From a Bancroft Prize–winning historian, the fascinating story of how an obscure Puritan sermon was remade into a founding document of American identity


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Published (US):
Oct 6, 2020
Published (UK):
Oct 27, 2020
5.5 x 8.5 in.
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“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill,” John Winthrop warned his fellow Puritans at New England’s founding in 1630. More than three centuries later, Ronald Reagan remade that passage into a timeless celebration of American promise. How were Winthrop’s long-forgotten words reinvented as a central statement of American identity and exceptionalism? In As a City on a Hill, Daniel Rodgers tells the surprising story of one of the most celebrated documents in the canon of the American idea, revealing how nationalism encourages the invention of “timeless” texts to straighten out the crooked realities of the past.

Awards and Recognition

  • World's 2018 Books of the Year