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The Soul of America: The Battle for Our…
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The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels (Original 2018; 2018. Auflage)

von Jon Meacham (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
7953521,496 (4.28)13
"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 presidents including, besides Lincoln, 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 Klu 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 to finish the fight against Jim Crow. In each of these dramatic, crucial turning points, the battle to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear, was joined, even as it is today. While the American story has not always been heroic, and the outcome of our battles never certain, in this inspiring book Meacham reassures us,"the good news is that we have come through darkness before"--as, time and again, Lincoln's better angels have found a way to prevail. Advance praise for The Soul of America "This is a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book. Jon Meacham explores the extremism and racism that have infected our politics, and he draws enlightening lessons from the knowledge that we've faced such trials before."--Walter Isaacson "Jon Meacham has done it again, this time with a historically rich and gracefully written account of America's long struggle with division in our immigrant nation and the heroic efforts to heal the wounds. It should be in every home and on every student's desk."--Tom Brokaw"-- "The current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America, Meacham shows us how what Lincoln called the "better angels of our nature" have won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and others, 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 Klu 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 Communist witch hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson's crusade to finish the fight against Jim Crow. In each of these dramatic, crucial turning points, the battle to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear, was joined, even as it is today. While the American story has not always or even often been heroic, and the outcome of that battle has never been certain, in this inspiring book, Meacham writes, "The good news is that we have come through darkness before," as time and again, Lincoln's better angels have found a way to prevail"--… (mehr)
Mitglied:chgstrom
Titel:The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
Autoren:Jon Meacham (Autor)
Info:Random House (2018), Edition: First Edition, 416 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek, Gelesen, aber nicht im Besitz
Bewertung:****
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The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels von Jon Meacham (2018)

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American history that you either never heard or forgot-- a new appreciation for some, optimism since we have been through similar turbulent times before. ( )
  ehousewright | Nov 1, 2021 |
Do you think America has never seen such polarizing times as ours today? Pulitizer Prize winner Jon Meacham stands ready to correct you and then to enlist you in the struggle for America to choose the better path. In this work, starting with Abraham Lincoln, he traces how historically Americans fought over choices that today might seem taken for granted – like women’s suffrage, lynchings, the right to vote, and trumped-up charges of political treason. In so doing, he paints a vivid history of American progress and inspires us to continue in that vein today.

When looking at the news, it’s easy to understand struggles against bigotry, prejudice, and ignorance as “new.” However, Meacham shows this to be incorrect. He tells Lincoln’s tale in the Civil War, but reminds us this was only the beginning. In Reconstruction, Grant had to fight a resurgent Ku Klux Klan. Even when it seemed defeated as a relic of the nineteenth century, the KKK came back in the early twentieth century. Woodrow Wilson, for all his idealism, drug his feet on women’s suffrage and pursued racist policies. Harry Truman had to reconcile his home-state’s racist heritage with returning soldiers’ civil rights.

Meacham reminds us of the Red Scare of Joseph McCarthy, which had absolutely no factual basis. He further reminds us of all Lyndon Johnson overcame to protect the right of all to vote. He reminds us that a single word in a Civil Rights bill (“sex”) protects against so many forms of gender discrimination. He reminds us that the funeral for the murdered Charleston Nine occurred on the same day that the Supreme Court protected same-sex marriage. He shares all these struggles in such vivid detail that our struggles simply become a part of the larger story.

Without a doubt, Meacham’s view of history is progressive. Living in the American South (as I do), it’s easy to think that America has arrived and that all these struggles are simply in the past. By citing picturesque rhetoric that reminds of today’s news clips, Meacham allows us – indeed, forces us – to see ourselves as a part of a larger context. He makes it much, much harder to think that any prior time was an end to history. Indeed, as he makes clear in the conclusion, history is just beginning, and we must act to play our part.

This book, expansive and inspirational in its scope, speaks to a nation whose divisions have been rigorously exploited for political gain. It makes a case for the American people and not just for one party or ideology. Republicans are cited as much as Democrats for pointing to a more noble America, a “shining city upon a hill” as Reagan put it. American readers of all sorts and of all backgrounds can benefit from this rich tour through history. It can remind us of who we are so that we can navigate our future steps more wisely. ( )
  scottjpearson | Aug 30, 2021 |
I've read a lot of American history in the last several months, including Chernow's biography of George Washington, Jill Lepore's These Truths, all four volumes of Robert Caro on LBJ, as well as Caro's The Power Broker about Robert Moses and New York. So this (relatively) brief collection of essays served as a thoughtful, well-considered view of the moral high ground our greatest leaders took, or, as the book's subtitle says, it fleshes out "the battle for our better angels." You can't read this without comparing its stories to our present situation. From progressivism to Joe McCarthy. From emancipation to the determination of George Wallace and, ultimately, Lyndon Johnson. From Huey Long to FDR and Truman. The Soul of America is a study in contrasts: in character, method, and commitment. It's excellent. ( )
  markburris | Jul 11, 2021 |
A compilation of quotes from famous people. Not good for audio. ( )
  xKayx | Dec 14, 2020 |
Meacham takes his reader though U.S. history pointing out and explaining the “soul” of each era primarily through the people who made our country what it was at the time. Not surprisingly, Abe Lincoln once again comes out as the nation’s moral hero, a hero missing from our midst in the 21st century. Although Meacham doesn’t dwell on the obvious comparison between our most recent one term president and these heroes of the past, his deficiencies were never more obvious. It makes the reader more appreciative than ever that the four year nightmare is finally over. ( )
  DanDiercks | Nov 24, 2020 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Jon MeachamHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Hassam, ChildeUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
McKeveny, TomUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Sanders, FredErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read.  And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past.  On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.  
 - James Baldwin
The Presidency is not merely an administrative office.  That's the least of it.  It is more than an engineering job, efficient or inefficient.  It is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership.  
 - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Nothing makes a man come to grips more directly with his conscience than the Presidency. . . . The burden of his responsibility literally opens up his soul.  No longer can he accept matters as given; no longer can he write off hopes and needs as impossible.
 - Lyndon B. Johnson
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(Introduction) The fate of America - or at least of white America, which was the only America that seemed to count - was at stake.
Dreams of God and of gold (not necessarily in that order) made America possible.
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The emphasis on the presidency in the following pages is not to suggest that occupants of the office are omnipotent. Much of the vibrancy of the American story lies in the courage of the powerless to make the powerful take notice. “One thing I believe profoundly: We make our own history,” Eleanor Roosevelt, who knew much about the possibilities and perils of politics, wrote shortly before her death in 1962 […] [Introduction, p.14 (Random House, 2018)]
We are a better nation because of reformers, known and unknown, celebrated and obscure, who have risked and given their lives in the conviction that, as Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “Arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This is not sentimental. “Surely in the light of history,” Mrs. Roosevelt remarked, “it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try.”[Introduction, p.14 (Random House, 2018)]
The engines of prosperity propelled millions into the broad middle class – an economic, cultural, and political ethos in which these millions of people had a stake in the present and the future of the nation. “Of the three classes,” Euripides had written, “it is the middle that saves the country.” […] To Walt Whitman, “The most valuable class in any community is the middle class.” [Chapter 6, p.179 (Random House, 2018)]
As long ago as the American Founding, it was an accepted truth that an economic unit that was neither very rich nor very poor offered a republic vital stability. Definitions of middle class are elusive and elastic. The scholar Ganesh Sitaraman holds with the one offered by the Economist magazine […] “to be middle class […] means that you have enough spending money to provide for yourself and your family without living hand to mouth, but not enough to guarantee their future.” Nothing, in other words, can be taken for granted, for there's always the risk that your prosperity might fall victim to time and chance. [Chapter 6, p.180 (Random House, 2018)]
Whatever one's status, there is a tendency for many to think that they're a Horatio Alger hero – an emblem of rugged individualism and singular success. The American ideal of what Henry Clay had called “self-made men” in 1832 is so central to the national mythology that there's often a missing character in the story Americans like to tell about American prosperity: government, which frequently helped create the conditions for the making of those men.

Many Americans have never liked acknowledging that the public sector has always been integral to making the private sector successful. We often approve of government's role when we benefit from it and disapprove when others seem to be getting something we aren't. [Chapter 6, p.180 (Random House, 2018)]
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"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 presidents including, besides Lincoln, 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 Klu 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 to finish the fight against Jim Crow. In each of these dramatic, crucial turning points, the battle to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear, was joined, even as it is today. While the American story has not always been heroic, and the outcome of our battles never certain, in this inspiring book Meacham reassures us,"the good news is that we have come through darkness before"--as, time and again, Lincoln's better angels have found a way to prevail. Advance praise for The Soul of America "This is a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book. Jon Meacham explores the extremism and racism that have infected our politics, and he draws enlightening lessons from the knowledge that we've faced such trials before."--Walter Isaacson "Jon Meacham has done it again, this time with a historically rich and gracefully written account of America's long struggle with division in our immigrant nation and the heroic efforts to heal the wounds. It should be in every home and on every student's desk."--Tom Brokaw"-- "The current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America, Meacham shows us how what Lincoln called the "better angels of our nature" have won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and others, 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 Klu 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 Communist witch hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson's crusade to finish the fight against Jim Crow. In each of these dramatic, crucial turning points, the battle to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear, was joined, even as it is today. While the American story has not always or even often been heroic, and the outcome of that battle has never been certain, in this inspiring book, Meacham writes, "The good news is that we have come through darkness before," as time and again, Lincoln's better angels have found a way to prevail"--

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