#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. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 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. Praise for The Soul of America “Brilliant, fascinating, timely . . . With compelling narratives of past eras of strife and disenchantment, Meacham offers wisdom for our own time.”—Walter Isaacson “Gripping and inspiring, The Soul of America is Jon Meacham’s declaration of his faith in America.”—Newsday “Meacham gives readers a long-term perspective on American history and a reason to believe the soul of America is ultimately one of kindness and caring, not rancor and paranoia.”—USA Today
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When Patrick Buchanan took the stage at the Republican National Convention in 1992 and proclaimed, “There is a religious war going on for the soul of our country,” his audience knew what he was talking about: the culture wars, which had raged throughout the previous decade and would continue until the century’s end, pitting conservative and religious Americans against their liberal, secular fellow citizens. It was an era marked by polarization and posturing fueled by deep-rooted anger and insecurity. Buchanan’s fiery speech marked a high point in the culture wars, but as Andrew Hartman shows in this richly analytical history, their roots lay farther back, in the tumult of the 1960s—and their significance is much greater than generally assumed. Far more than a mere sideshow or shouting match, the culture wars, Hartman argues, were the very public face of America’s struggle over the unprecedented social changes of the period, as the cluster of social norms that had long governed American life began to give way to a new openness to different ideas, identities, and articulations of what it meant to be an American. The hot-button issues like abortion, affirmative action, art, censorship, feminism, and homosexuality that dominated politics in the period were symptoms of the larger struggle, as conservative Americans slowly began to acknowledge—if initially through rejection—many fundamental transformations of American life. As an ever-more partisan but also an ever-more diverse and accepting America continues to find its way in a changing world, A War for the Soul of America reminds us of how we got here, and what all the shouting has really been about.
Healing That Reaches Beyond the Self In this landmark work, Marianne Williamson reminds us that there is a point in everyone's spiritual journey where the search for self-awareness can turn into self-preoccupation. All of us are better off when contemplation of holy principles is at the center of our lives. But it is in applying those principles in our lives that we forge the true marriage between heaven and earth. In the compassionate but clear-eyed prose that has won her so many avid readers, Williamson shows us that the principles which apply to our personal healing also apply to the healing of the larger world. Calling on Americans to turn the compassion in our hearts into a powerful force for social good, Williamson shows us how to transform spiritual activism into a social activism that will in turn transform America into a nation seriously invested in the hope of every child and in the potential of every adult.
In this compelling and insightful book you will be inspired and challenged as an American and a patriot as you experience a candid look into the true American dream, reminding us that America's soul can be renewed... one person at a time... beginning with you.
". . . extraordinarily far-reaching. . . . highly accessible." -Notes "No one has written this way about music in a long, long time. Lucid, insightful, with real spiritual, political, intellectual, and emotional grasp of the whole picture. A book about why music matters, and how, and to whom." -Dave Marsh, author of Louie, Louie and Born to Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story "This book is urgently needed: a comprehensive look at the various forms of black popular music, both as music and as seen in a larger social context. No one can do this better than Craig Werner." -Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University "[Werner has] mastered the extremely difficult art of writing about music as both an aesthetic and social force that conveys, implies, symbolizes, and represents ideas as well as emotion, but without reducing its complexities and ambiguities to merely didactic categories." -African American Review A Change Is Gonna Come is the story of more than four decades of enormously influential black music, from the hopeful, angry refrains of the Freedom movement, to the slick pop of Motown; from the disco inferno to the Million Man March; from Woodstock's "Summer of Love" to the war in Vietnam and the race riots that inspired Marvin Gaye to write "What's Going On." Originally published in 1998, A Change Is Gonna Come drew the attention of scholars and general readers alike. This new edition, featuring four new and updated chapters, will reintroduce Werner's seminal study of black music to a new generation of readers. Craig Werner is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, and author of many books, including Playing the Changes: From Afro-Modernism to the Jazz Impulse and Up Around the Bend: An Oral History of Creedence Clearwater Revival. His most recent book is Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and the Rise and Fall of American Soul.
To Redeem the Soul of America looks beyond the towering figure of Martin Luther King, Jr., to disclose the full workings of the organization that supported him. As Adam Fairclough reveals the dynamics within the Southern Christian Leadership Conference he shows how Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson, Wyatt Walker, Andrew Young, and others also played a hand in the triumphs of Selma and Birmingham and the frustrations of Albany and Chicago. Joining a charismatic leader with an inspired group of activists, the SCLC built a bridge from the black proletariat to the white liberal elite and then, finally, to the halls of Congress and the White House.
Includes essays by Tom Wolfe, William Kennedy, Ken Kesey, George Plimpton, David Halberstam, Sally Quinn, Guy Martin, and Bob Greene, among others.
The untold story of the night a divide nation turned to James Brown—and he delivered hope and calm in the form of an immortal concert Since James Brown's death in December 2006, the Godfather of Soul has received many stirring tributes. Yet few have addressed his contribution in the darkest hour of the Civil Rights movement. Telling for the first time the story of his historic Boston Garden concert the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, The Hardest Working Man captures the magnificent achievements that made Brown an icon of American popular culture. Sullivan details the charged atmosphere in Boston, Brown's fight against city officials to take the stage, and the electric performance he delivered. Through the prism of this one concert, Sullivan also charts Brown's incredible rise from poverty to self-made millionaire, his enormous influence on popular music, and his complex relationship with the Civil Rights movement, making The Hardest Working Man both a tribute to an unforgettable concert and a rousing biography of a revolutionary musician.
Three sisters from the South wrestle with orthodoxies of race, sexuality, and privilege. Descendants of a prominent slaveholding family, Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Lumpkin grew up in a culture of white supremacy. But while Elizabeth remained a lifelong believer, her younger sisters chose vastly different lives. Seeking their fortunes in the North, Grace and Katharine reinvented themselves as radical thinkers whose literary works and organizing efforts brought the nation’s attention to issues of region, race, and labor. In Sisters and Rebels, National Humanities Award–winning historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall follows the divergent paths of the Lumpkin sisters, who were “estranged and yet forever entangled” by their mutual obsession with the South. Tracing the wounds and unsung victories of the past through to the contemporary moment, Hall revives a buried tradition of Southern expatriation and progressivism; explores the lost, revolutionary zeal of the early twentieth century; and muses on the fraught ties of sisterhood. Grounded in decades of research, the family’s private papers, and interviews with Katharine and Grace, Sisters and Rebels unfolds an epic narrative of American history through the lives and works of three Southern women.
A highly regarded scientist’s examination of the battle between evolution and intelligent design, and its implications for how science is practiced in America.