Download American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation Audiobook

American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation Audiobook, by Jon Meacham Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jon Meacham Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2006 ISBN: 9780739334386
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (720 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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In American Gospel (literally meaning the "good news about America"), New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham sets the record straight on the history of religion in American public life. As Meacham shows, faith --meaning a belief in a higher power, and the sense that we are God's chosen people-- has always been at the heart of our national experience, from Jamestown to the Constitutional Convention to the Civil Rights Movement to September 11th. And yet, first and foremost, America is a nation founded upon the principles of liberty and freedom. Every American is free to exercise his own faith or no faith at all. And so a balance is struck, between public religion and private religion; and religious belief is distinct from morality. As Meacham explains, the well-known "wall" between church and state has always separated private religion from the business of the state, yet religious belief is part of the basic foundation of government. Brilliantly articulating an argument that links the Founding Fathers to an insightful contemporary point of view, American Gospel renews our understanding of history, and what public religion has meant in America, so that we can move beyond today's religious and political extremism toward a truer understanding of the place of faith in American society. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • In his American Gospel, Jon Meacham provides a refreshingly clear, balanced, and wise historical portrait of religion and American politics at exactly the moment when such fairness and understanding are much needed. Anyone who doubts the relevance of history to our own time has only to read this exceptional book. David McCullough, author of 1776
  • Jon Meacham has given us an insightful and eloquent account of the spiritual foundation of the early days of the American republic. It is especially instructive reading at a time when the nation is at once engaged in and deeply divided on the question of religion and its place in public life. Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation
  • At a time when faith and freedom seem increasingly polarized, American Gospel recovers our vital center–the middle ground where, historically, religion and public life strike a delicate balance. Well researched, well written, inspiring, and persuasive, this is a welcome addition to the literature. Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University, author of American Judaism: A History
  • An absorbing narrative full of vivid characters and fresh thinking, American Gospel tells how the Founding Fathers–and their successors–struggled with their own religious and political convictions to work out the basic structure for freedom of religion. For me this book was nonstop reading. Elaine Pagels, professor of religion, Princeton University, author of Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas 
  • Jon Meacham is one of our country’s most brilliant thinkers about religion’s impact on American society. In this scintillating and provocative book, Meacham reveals the often-hidden influence of religious belief on the Founding Fathers and on later generations of American citizens and leaders up to our own. Today, as we argue more strenuously than ever about the proper place of religion in our politics and the rest of American life, Meacham’s important book should serve as the touchstone of the debate. Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 1/28/2014

    " fun to read what our founding fathers thought about religion and government. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danny | 1/17/2014

    " Has some interesting anecdotes, but the bland centrism gets old quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 1/8/2014

    " I have enjoyed reading about the faith of our founding fathers and thought it would be a good read for many people who aren't sure what separation of church and state means. And that little over-used phrase (separation of church and state) was in a letter written by Jefferson, but is nowhere to be found in the constitution or other official papers. I found that piece of information quite interesting. It could have been shorter, but it was still good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 (a)lyss(a) | 1/1/2014

    " It was a cool book to read. Great insight and beautiful way of interpretting the constitution. Also was awesome to see how the founding fathers would feel about certain issues in big goverment today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 12/27/2013

    " Interesting book about the role of religion and faith in the founding fathers view of the creation of the constitution and its democratic institutions. Argues that while Christian belief was a bedrock for almost all the founders, that they did not intend for the country to be a "Christian Democracy" as some have claimed. Instead, the book argues, the founders completely understood and bought into the idea that religious freedom and diversity must be maintained for the country to achieve its greatest aspirations. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 R.J. | 12/27/2013

    " A topic i was very interested to read about but dull dull dull "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Glenn | 12/22/2013

    " An insightful survey of the thin wall separating church and state throughout our nation's existence, and how 'One nation under God' has managed to keep a safe distance from sectarian influence. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 12/5/2013

    " Great book on a great subject--religion and public life in America. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chrislyn | 11/27/2013

    " Good read...explains the foundation of religion in american history "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 11/7/2013

    " Excellent book! This should be required reading for all high school history students. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 10/28/2013

    " Meacham does a great job of putting religion in perspective in the political history of the American Experiment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline | 10/11/2013

    " Read in preperation for my AP US Histoy class. Well organized and thought out, uses historical documents effectively. Interesting view of American History through the lense of religion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Agnes | 10/1/2013

    " Excellent study of religion and our founding fathers. Highly recommend it...half the book consists of letters and writings of the founding fathers supporting the author's views. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 GFWTRES | 9/13/2013

    " Well documented account of the tension and interplay of religion in the founding of the United States, and a counterpoint to facile arguments positing America as a Christian nation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 5/9/2013

    " I don't like the author much, but his book was ok, and fairly balanced. His conclusions were mostly sound, if some of his examples weak (especially more modern ones). I reviewed the book here. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Annemarie | 7/19/2012

    " Just once I wish an historian would study the Treaty of Tripoli so we can (once and for all) stop pretending that America was "founded on christianity". Freaking foolish, and very dangerous. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 3/11/2012

    " Nice work on the separation of church and state that the founding fathers intended "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 2/5/2012

    " Wonderful historical account of the role of religion in American politics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 10/11/2011

    " Pretty interesting overview of the intersection of religion and politics through US history - that said it was also a relatively cursory overview and rather disappointing inasmuch as it ended with Regan, except for a passing reference to Jerry Falwell & Pat Robertson's diatribes regarding 9/11. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adam | 9/11/2011

    " Very nice middle of the road examination of the real role of Christianity in our Nations most powerful office and its influence on the founders. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan | 7/23/2011

    " Great insight into the founding fathers and their mixed views on religion. They were not all devout christian men nor were they agnostics or atheists, many of them grappled with questions about god much they way we still do. Wonderful defense of the middle ground in the religious debate. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dav8d777 | 5/21/2011

    "
    Fantastic yet troubling book about the nation's 7th president. Jackson represented a type of patriotism that was by turns heroic and calloused, but it was always deadly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 4/25/2011

    " too much personal, not enough politics "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Owen | 4/23/2011

    " An exhausting and thorough analysis of one of America's greatest and defining presidents. Also noted is his reprehensible attitude towards Native Americans and perception of slavery, both products of his cultural upbringing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bank | 4/20/2011

    " Being a great fan of Old Hickory, i was really disappointed in this book . It spent far too much time exploring the political intrigues of his administration to the neglect of his many accomplishments which shaped this country. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian | 4/19/2011

    " Really enjoyed this one. Andrew Jackson is a fascinating character - the quintessential American self-made man with amazing qualities and damnable flaws. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emma | 4/12/2011

    " Concentrated too much on the soap opera aspect of his presidency. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roxane | 4/7/2011

    " I just started reading this Andrew Jackson biography the other day, and it's very good. I like Meacham's writing style--and Jackson himself seems to be an charming and rakish figure, as portrayed by Meacham, who will be fun to read about. I'm at about page 35 at this point. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 4/2/2011

    " Seems like American History skips over this period quickly. But if Lincoln liked Jackson, I think I will. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 3/13/2011

    " It was a good book. I really didn't know much about Jackson prior to reading this book other than 'you either love him or hate him'. A very complex man indeed. "

About the Author

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer and the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including three that have made their #1 bestsellers list. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Time magazine.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over a thousand titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.