The Soul of America - Jon Meacham

The Soul of America

By Jon Meacham

  • Release Date: 2018-05-08
  • Genre: United States
Score: 4
From 253 Ratings


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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.


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


  • Excellent!

    By Daisypie54
    So comforting to understand past struggles. The past makes the present bearable. Thank you John.
  • Hoep

    By Gclapp
    This is a great book to read.
  • The Soul of America

    By Claire McCaskill
    Excellent. So easy to read and to relearn our history. This book gave me hope in these troubled times. Sherry
  • Hoping for better than that!

    By PetrifiedFish
    Incredibly boring and repetitive. A serious disappointment.
  • Exceptional and timely book

    By NaplesBob
    I highly recommend this book as it references political leaders in the US and decisions made by them during times of crisis. The art of listening to others and compromising with others is much needed in our country and I am confident that new leaders will emerge with these types of skills.
  • Sucked

    By Baddestbitc
    Glad I decided not to buy the whole version.
  • So close to a great book...

    By Maybe a simple reader
    Historic perspective is needed today more than this generation is aware. Meacham accomplishes this goal, however the reader is bogged down in wondering references that would best be saved for the bibliography. As a result, the flow is interrupted and the point is often lost. Maybe a more scholarly mind is accustom to such ramblings. The pre-sale hype on the book promised references to our current political leadership, yet these were weak and too few. In the end he concludes that we will rise from our currently low political frustrations to an era of higher ground in the future.
  • Hope

    By AZWeez
    Reading this gave me hope that my country will survive. I highly recommend reading it.