Sample
  • The Soul of America

  • The Battle for Our Better Angels
  • By: Jon Meacham
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders, Jon Meacham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (5,430 ratings)

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The Soul of America

By: Jon Meacham
Narrated by: Fred Sanders, Jon Meacham
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Publisher's summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear.

Named one of the best books of the year by NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, and Southern Living.

Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the "better angels of our nature" have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women's rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson’s crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear - a struggle that continues even now.

While the American story has not always - or even often - been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, "The good news is that we have come through such darkness before" - as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail.

Praise for The Soul of America:

“Brilliant, fascinating, timely... With compelling narratives of past eras of strife and disenchantment, Meacham offers wisdom for our own time.” (Walter Isaacson)

“Gripping and inspiring, The Soul of America is Jon Meacham’s declaration of his faith in America.” (Newsday)

“Meacham gives readers a long-term perspective on American history and a reason to believe the soul of America is ultimately one of kindness and caring, not rancor and paranoia.” (USA Today)

©2018 Jon Meacham (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"This is a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book." (Walter Isaacson)

"Rather than curse the darkness, Jon Meacham, with his usual eloquence and surpassing knowledge of our history, has offered us all the sublime and calming reassurance that as threatening as so much of the present moment seems, Americans have weathered such storms before and come out on the other side with fresh and progressive horizons. This is a beautifully expressed and convincing prayer to summon our own 'better angels' to meet the obvious challenges of today." (Ken Burns)

"Meacham has become one of America's most earnest and thoughtful biographers and historians.... Meacham gives readers a long-term perspective on American history and a reason to believe the soul of America is ultimately one of kindness and caring, not rancor and paranoia. Finally, Meacham provides advice to find our better angels - enter the arena, resist tribalism, respect facts and deploy reason, find a critical balance and keep history in mind. He’s provided a great way to do it." (USA Today)

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