Jedediah Purdy

Jedediah Purdy is a law professor at Duke University and the author of several popular books on American culture and history. His first book,  For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today, was published in 1999, when Purdy was a 24 year old law student at Yale University, and made him something of an intellectual and political celebrity. Purdy, who is known for his earnest demeanor and unabashed concern for things that matter, described the book as “one young man’s letter of love for the world’s possibilities.” Purdy’s parents were self-described hippies seeking an honest, simple, rural life when they moved from Pennsylvania to a farm in West Virginia shortly before he was born. They named their little boy after Jedediah Strong Smith, the famed mountain man and Western explorer of the 19th century. Purdy was home schooled until age 13, eventually making his way to Exeter and then Harvard University, before completing his law degree at Yale. A “wildly popular” teacher at Duke, Purdy recently finished a book on the nature and origins of private property.

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