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The soul of America : the battle for our better angels

The soul of America : the battle for our better angels / Jon Meacham.
First edition.
New York, N.Y. : Random House, [2018]
Copyright Notice Date
Physical Description
xii, 402 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
"We have been here before. In this timely and revealing book ... 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. With clarity and purpose, Meacham explores contentious periods and how presidents and citizens came together to defeat the forces of anger, intolerance, and extremism. 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 has 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."--Jacket.
Added to Catalog
November 11, 2020
Includes bibliographical references (pages 277-377) and index.
Introduction : To hope rather than to fear
The confidence of the whole people : visions of the Presidency, the ideas of progress and prosperity, and "We, the people"
The long shadow of Appomattox : the Lost Cause, the Ku Klux Klan, and Reconstruction
With soul of flame and temper of steel : "the melting pot," TR and his "bully pulpit," and the Progressive promise
A new and good thing in the world : the triumph of women's suffrage, the Red Scare, and a new Klan
The crisis of the old order : the Great Depression, Huey Long, the New Deal, and America First
Have you no sense of decency? : "making everyone middle class," the GI Bill, McCarthyism, and modern media
What the hell is the presidency for? : "segregation forever," King's crusade, and LBJ in the crucible
Conclusion : The first duty of an American citizen.

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