The Soul of America by Jon Meacham (4.26)
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.
Meacham contends that our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how Abraham Lincoln called for the "better angels of our nature," and other historical figures such as Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson faced similar problems. 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.