Sean Wilentz is a history professor at Princeton University whose books include The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln and The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. A contributing editor at The New Republic, his new book, Bob Dylan in America, will be published in September by Doubleday.

Earlier this week at Terminal 5 in New York, Bob Dylan played one of his best shows in years, says Sean Wilentz—and showed how he’s still reinventing himself.

With his radio show and memoirs, the normally taciturn musician opened up and changed the way his fans thought of him, says Sean Wilentz in an excerpt from Bob Dylan in America. .

Columbia Records announced the release of two new sets of unreleased recordings, one of which shows how he changed songwriting and the other how his songs were meant to be heard—in mono.

Every year Americans celebrate our patriotic unity, but historian Sean Wilentz writes that from the start this day was used by opponents to score political points—and that we shouldn’t forget our history is as much about conflict as comity.

After Joni Mitchell accused Bob Dylan of plagiarism, the blogosphere exploded and Dylan detractors cheered. Sean Wilentz on why they—and Joni—are wrong.

No House speaker in modern times performed as powerfully as Nancy Pelosi has in bringing health-care reform to the brink of passage. Sean Wilentz on Pelosi's historic performance.

The president needs to learn an important lesson, says historian Sean Wilentz: Sometimes the most loyal staffers are the most destructive to a commander in chief’s agenda.

News of Bob Dylan’s album of Christmas songs shocked fans. But his official historian-in-residence, Sean Wilentz, detects not a single ironic or parodic note in Christmas in the Heart—just a sincere homage to American Christmases past.

President Obama leaves many questions unanswered after 100 days, but he's already doing better than JFK and Lincoln, who got off to disastrous starts en route to greatness.