The Pre-read program, initiated by President Eisgruber in 2013, introduces incoming freshmen to Princeton's intellectual life. Members of the incoming class join together to read and discuss a book that President Eisgruber selects and sends to freshmen prior to their arrival on campus. Freshmen then participate in Pre-read discussions with student leaders during Orientation Week and with President Eisgruber in the residential colleges and elsewhere on campus over the course of the academic year. Alumni also are encouraged to read and discuss the Pre-read selection.
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.