American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Jon Meacham

Narrated By: Grover Gardner

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: April 2006

Duration: 7 hours 0 minutes

Summary:

In American Gospel (literally meaning the "good news about America"), New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham sets the record straight on the history of religion in American public life. As Meacham shows, faith --meaning a belief in a higher power, and the sense that we are God's chosen people-- has always been at the heart of our national experience, from Jamestown to the Constitutional Convention to the Civil Rights Movement to September 11th. And yet, first and foremost, America is a nation founded upon the principles of liberty and freedom. Every American is free to exercise his own faith or no faith at all. And so a balance is struck, between public religion and private religion; and religious belief is distinct from morality. As Meacham explains, the well-known "wall" between church and state has always separated private religion from the business of the state, yet religious belief is part of the basic foundation of government. Brilliantly articulating an argument that links the Founding Fathers to an insightful contemporary point of view, American Gospel renews our understanding of history, and what public religion has meant in America, so that we can move beyond today's religious and political extremism toward a truer understanding of the place of faith in American society.


From the Compact Disc edition.

Genres:

  • Steve Heller

    An excellent survey of the role of what the author calls "public religion" in the United States from the earliest colonial times to the present. Meacham carefully demonstrates the reverence the Founders had for religion as a basis for religious-inspired morality in the commonwealth, while showing they went out of their way to avoid sectarianism (including any recognition of the United States as a "Christian Nation") and support toleration of all beliefs. The books has good sections on this issue in later times--particularly on Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Martin Luther King, and Ronald Reagan. He makes a sympathetic comparison of Billy Graham, who withdrew from political activity, to Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who did not.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent book; gives a clear overview of the role of religion in American history, starting with the Jamestown settlers, through the Founding Fathers, to the near present. Clarifies that to the the Founding Fathers a Creator or Transcendent Power was very much a part of their thinking, but not necessarily a Christian God.

  • D F

    This book is a bit long and repetitive in structure for audio--no skimming--but anyone who gets frustrated by the heated mix of religion and politics in America would be well served to hear the whole of Meacham's explanation for the balance between secularism and religion reached and maintained in the founding and playing out of American government.

  • Donald Purciful

    I did not like the book nor agree with the message and views of the author. I do not recommend this book at all as the views seem to be from a very liberal secular person.I found his counter claims of the faith of several of our founding fathers not in keeping with other books I have read on the subject and our Great Nation founded on the very principles this author chooses to minimize. The work also did not flow very well as he seemed to get off on tangents and then got hard to follow where he was going with each chapter. One would get the idea he did not like America either and certainly not men of integrity and honesty and a love for the Lord our risen savior Jesus Christ.