Download The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels Audiobook

The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels Audiobook, by Jon Meacham Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jon Meacham Narrator: Jon Meacham, Fred Sanders Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2018 ISBN: 9780525640042
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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.

Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history through 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.

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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Both author and narrator gracefully deliver the theme that we’ve been through dark times before and prevailed. Fred Sanders is a compelling narrator who brings these foundational American stories to life with admirable poise. He is especially good at reading famous texts as though they were new. His storytelling style enhances the meaning of Meacham’s prose. This is an audiobook to listen to, absorb, and contemplate.”

    AudioFile

  • “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. Meacham offers wisdom for our own time and helps us appreciate the American soul: the heart, the core, and the essence of what it means to have faith in our nation.”

    Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “[Meacham] echoes the rhetoric of Abraham Lincoln and Sojourner Truth in his poignant secular sermon, spiraling outward from our civil rights ground zero, slavery. ‘To know what has come before is to be armed against despair,’ observes Meacham, who stirringly recalls past moments of national crisis to prove that, eventually, light does peek through.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “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. Finally, Meacham provides advice to find our better angels—enter the arena, resist tribalism, respect facts and deploy reason, find a critical balance and keep history in mind. He’s provided a great way to do it.”

    USA Today

  • Appalled by the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump, and shaken by the deadly white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville in 2017, Meacham returns to other moments in our history when fear and division seemed rampant. He wants to remind us that the current political turmoil is not unprecedented, that as a nation we have survived times worse than this. . . . Meacham tries to summon the better angels by looking back at when America truly has been great. He is effective as ever at writing history for a broad readership. . . . [Meacham] is an adroit and appealing storyteller. The New York Times Book Review
  • Gripping and inspiring, The Soul of America is Jon Meacham’s declaration of his faith in America. . . . Meacham, by chronicling the nation’s struggles from revolutionary times to current day, makes the resonant argument that America has faced division before—and not only survived it but thrived. . . . Meacham believes the nation will move beyond Trump because, in the end, as they have shown on vital issues before, Americans embrace their better angels. This book stands as a testament to that choice—a reminder that the country has a history of returning to its core values of freedom and equality after enduring periods of distraction and turmoil. Newsday
  • Meacham tells us we’ve been here before and can find our way out, urging readers to enter the arena, avoid tribalism, respect facts and listen to history. The Washington Post
  • This engrossing, edifying, many-voiced chronicle, subtly propelled by concern over the troubled Trump administration, calls on readers to defend democracy, decency, and the common good. Best-selling Meacham’s topic couldn’t be more urgent. Booklist (starred review)
  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • An O Magazine Pick for Best Books of Summer
  • A USA Today Pick of Weekend Picks for Book Lovers
  • A New York Times audio bestseller

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About the Author

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. The author of the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, Franklin and Winston, and Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, he is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University, a contributing writer for the New York Times Book Review, and a fellow of the Society of American Historians.

About the Narrator

Fred Sanders, an actor and Earphones Award–winning narrator, has received critics’ praise for his audio narrations that range from nonfiction, memoir, and fiction to mystery and suspense. He been seen on Broadway in The Buddy Holly Story, in national tours for Driving Miss Daisy and Big River, and on such television shows as Seinfeld, The West Wing, Will and Grace, Numb3rs,Titus, and Malcolm in the Middle. His films include Sea of Love, The Shadow, and the Oscar-nominated short Culture. He is a native New Yorker and Yale graduate.