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Download The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Inspire and Define Our Nation Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Inspire and Define Our Nation, by Howard Fineman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (222 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Howard Fineman Narrator: Scott Sowers Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Howard Fineman is one of our best-known and most trusted political journalists. Mixing vivid scenes and figures from the campaign trail with forays into four hundred years of American history, Fineman shows that every debate, from our nation’s founding to the present day, is rooted in one of thirteen arguments that–thankfully–defy resolution. It is the very process of never-ending argument, Fineman explains, that defines us, inspires us, and keeps us free. At a time when most public disagreement seems shrill and meaningless, Fineman makes a cogent case for nurturing the real American dialogue. 

Shouting is not arguing, Fineman notes, but often hot-button topics, media “cross-fires,” and blogs reflect the deepest currents in American life. In an enlightening book that cuts through the din and makes sense of the headlines, Fineman captures the essential issues that have always compelled healthy and heated debate–and must continue to do so in order for us to prosper in the twenty-first century. The Thirteen American Arguments run the gamut, from issues of individual identity to our country’s role in the world, including:

• Who is a Person? The Declaration of Independence says “everyone,” but it took a Civil War and the Civil Rights and other movements to make that a reality. Presently, what about human embryos and “unlawful enemy combatants?”
• Who is an American? Only a nation of immigrants could argue so much about who should become one. There is currently added urgency when terrorists are at large in the world and twelve million “undocumented” aliens are in the country.
• The Role of Faith. No country is more legally secular yet more avowedly prayerful. From Thomas Jefferson to Terri Schiavo, we can never quite decide where God fits in government.
• Presidential Power. In a democracy, leadership is all the more difficult — and, paradoxically, all the more essential. From George Washington to George W. Bush, we have always asked: How much power should a president have?
• America in the World. Uniquely, we perpetually ask ourselves whether we have a moral obligation to change the world — or, alternatively, whether we must try to change it to survive in it.

Whether it’s the environment, international trade, interpreting law, Congress vs. the president, or reformers vs. elites, these are the issues that galvanized the Founding Fathers and should still inspire our leaders, thinkers, and citizens. If we cease to argue about these things, we cease to be. “Argument is strength, not weakness,” says Fineman. “As long as we argue, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, we will argue.”

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Andrew | 2/15/2014

    " An excellent premise; faulty execution... My major beef is that the dude never seems to get around to saying anything! In discussing "Who is a person?", for example, we get a paragraph on Ann Richards introducing Ferraro in '84, the standard tip of the hat to Abigail Adams, and then a paragraph on Roe v. Wade followed by some references to Nancy Pelosi. What is your point, holmes? "Like the universe, the meaning of personhood is expanding." Oh. Thanks. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Adrienne | 2/11/2014

    " I picked this book up because I got to meet him. And I really enjoyed it. It is an exercise in the questions that cannot be settled in a clear way. A great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sandy | 2/1/2014

    " EXCELLENT read. Fineman discusses why we SHOULD argue and debate over issues. Not argue in the angry sense, but rather stay strong to your belief but be willing to discuss, debate and defend your opinion while stil being able to hear other opinions. It's what our country was founded on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Karl | 1/31/2014

    " An interesting take on politics in America. Fineman views politics as discussions about continuing issues and not just Republicans v. Democrats or liberals v. conservatives. Fineman provides a different lens for viewing today's political fights in which the parties may have switched sides on basic issues (sometimes more than once) but where the basic issues remain. A good book! "

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