A Preview of My Forthcoming Book: The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future
An exclusive early look at my next book, for Substack readers
The lifecycle of a book has a number of distinct stages. Here’s a behind the scenes look at what that process has been like, up to this point, for my forthcoming book, The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future:
February 2021: First draft of book proposal sent to my literary agent
November 2021: Final draft of (significantly re-conceptualized) book proposal sent to potential publisher
January 2022: Book under contract with Simon & Schuster
October 2022: Full manuscript submitted
December 2022: Revised and expanded manuscript accepted
February 2023: Copyedited manuscript reviewed and finalized
May 2023 (update): Galley copies created and final copyedits of galleys submitted.
Because these milestones clip by on screens rather than paper, a new book often doesn’t quite feel “real” until it has some external expression, even if that is also only an electronic representation of something that does not yet exist as a tangible object. In the digitally-driven world of modern publishing, that magic moment occurs, at least for me, when the book jacket design and copy (the critical 250 words that summarize the book) show up not just on the publisher’s website but on the virtual bookshelves of online retailers.
The manuscript is not yet a book, but that digital rectangle is a promissory note that the real thing—an object that can lie across your lap and sit on your shelf—is coming into being.
I’m thrilled to share that my new book has now reached this point on its journey. The book will be officially released just after Labor Day on September 5, 2023 (most trade books, by tradition, are released on Tuesdays), but it officially lives online, and is available for pre-order at Amazon, Bookshop, and B&N, and other retailers.
Here’s the description from the book jacket:
Taking the story of white supremacy in America back to 1493, and examining contemporary communities in Mississippi, Minnesota, and Oklahoma for models of racial repair, The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy helps chart a new course toward a genuinely pluralistic democracy.
Robert P. Jones returns to the fateful year when the Christian “Doctrine of Discovery”—the idea that God designated America as a new promised land—shaped how five centuries of Europeans would understand the “new” world and the people who populated it. As he brings this story forward, Jones shows us the connections between Emmett Till and the Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto in the Mississippi Delta, between the lynching of three Black circus workers in Duluth and the mass execution of thirty-eight Dakota men in Mankato, and between the murder of 300 African Americans during the destruction of Black Wall Street in Tulsa and the Trail of Tears.
Jones reminds us that the enslavement of Africans was not America’s original sin but rather the continuation of a pattern of genocide and dispossession that began with the first European contact with Native Americans. This reframing of American origins explains how the architects of the United States could build a democratic society on a foundation of mass racial violence—and why this paradox survives today in the form of white Christian nationalism. Through stories of people navigating these contradictions in three communities, Jones illuminates the possibility of a new American future in which we finally fulfill the promise of a pluralistic democracy.
That’s all the information that is publicly available, but here’s a sneak peek—just for #WhiteTooLong Substack readers—at the table of contents.
You’ll hear more from me about the book as we get closer to September 5th. But if you’d like to be among the first to pre-order the book (a promissory note issued by readers!), I invite you to click the button below. And I welcome questions or notes in the comments or chat about the book or the publishing process.
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At around the age of 8, in a discussion with my mother on "Indians", I replied, "But you killed them all!" That statement has never left me. I'm not sure how someone 8 years old could grasp the darkest, hidden part of US history, but you are the only other person I've heard or read that have uttered these words; "From this vantage point, Jones shows how the enslavement of Africans was not America’s original sin". I consider my as having been prepared for the unveiling of these truths through other authors, Mark Charles mostly and I am in full agreement with his book: Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery. Will be curious to see how your work intertwines with his. Fully enjoyed the seminar at Brookings on White Christian Nationalism!
Cannot wait to read it!!! Just placed my order. Thank you for your work.