The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels Review

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.

Title:The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Bill  Kerwin

    ”The past is never dead; it is not even past.”—William FaulknerIn August of 2017, after the deadly alt-right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, Time’s editor Nancy Gates called up Jon Meacham...

  • Michael Ferro

    The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels should be required reading for every American in these divisive times. Now more than ever we need to not only recognize just how deep our societal...

  • Elizabeth George

    If there were a six star category, I would give this book six stars. It's a book that should be read by every thinking American who is worried, concerned, or devastated by what is going on and has gon...

  • David Eppenstein

    "I've got the the biggest brains, I'm going to be the biggest man in the United States." Sound familiar ? Think you recognize the speaker? I thought so too. I was wrong. The speaker was a man named Da...

  • Faith

    This author is considerably more hopeful and inspirational about the current state of our country than many of the books I have read recently. I hope that he is correct that leaders of character will ...

  • Casey Wheeler

    I received a free Kindle copy of The Soul of America by Jon Meacham courtesy of Net Galley  and Random House, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley,...

  • Lorna

    The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels is a beautiful book written to give one hope in these troubled times by veteran historian Jon Meacham. Basically, it recounts the struggles that ...

  • Stephen

    My only complaint about this book, and it’s not minor, is it’s reactionary tone to Donald Trump. It’s as if only the rise of Trump gave rise to this book, and that weakens the message. The Soul ...

  • Scott

    "He . . . understood people, and when it came time to make decisions, he was willing to take the responsibility . . . He had a good head and a great brain and a kind heart . . . He was the best kind o...

  • Michelle

    This beautiful book uses the prism of American history to present the case that 'we've been here before' and 'this too shall pass'. Did it make me feel better? Sort of. The quotes from past presidents...