Sean Wilentz is one of the nation’s most prominent historians. His books and commentary on music, politics, and the arts have gained a wide reputation for their force, originality, and elegance. He is currently the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1979.
Wilentz’s historical scholarship has concentrated on the political and social history of the United States from the American Revolution to recent times. His best-known books of history are: The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (2005), winner of the Bancroft Prize among other honors, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 (2008). His latest book, The Politicians & The Egalitarians (2016) traces the long history of anti-partisan and egalitarian sentiment in American political culture.
Wilentz’s writings on music have focused on folk traditions and contemporary rock and roll, especially the work of Bob Dylan. His liner notes for Dylan’s album, The Bootleg Series, Volume 6, Bob Dylan Live, 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall were honored with a Grammy® nomination for musical commentary. Since 2001, he has served as historian-in-residence at Dylan’s official Website, www.bobdylan.com. In September 2010, Doubleday published Wilentz’s new book, Bob Dylan in America.
Disagreements over income inequality are always present in democracies, but at times the topic submerges. Today, the topic has reemerged and is driving the next presidential election.
Princeton historian Sean Wilentz says that from a historical perspective the rise of Donald Trump signals the end of the Republican Party as we know it — and a worrisome new politics.