The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels

Written by:
Jon Meacham
Narrated by:
Jon Meacham , Fred Sanders

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2018
10 hours 56 minutes
#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.

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

ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, 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.
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Richard S.

I really enjoyed this book, though I wish more would have been comparing the past administrations to the present one. Many new and interesting facts which I was unaware of and generally speaking, a very good book!

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Jon Meacham is my favorite political historian in this era. The book demonstrated several examples of past presidents. However, the narration was fairly dry and monotoned. It calmed my hectic evenings, but often put me to sleep.

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Mary T.

A very informative and inclusive picture of American society, politics and government., Far from reading as a text might, Meacham tells of our history via an interesting & exciting story. It is difficult to put it down. It also relates our past to our present in terms of our society and government. Indeed, it is one of the best reads of the decade for me. Mary T.

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Kim F.

I loved this book! It reminds us of how big (and important) the executive office is. It also reminds us of how difficult it is to separate personal matters and party politics and create a better America for the people!

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