Wow! Maybe I’m just the right audience at the right time and place but it seems this is the book I’ve been wanting to read – the book whose main idea mirrors my own in terms of where this country is now and where it’s been and where it’s going. The Pinker books (The Better Angels of Our Natures and Enlightenment Now – links are to my own reviews) almost did it but not quite –
The question is – Are we doomed in some way? Or is there light at the end of the tunnel – is the seeming backslide into divisions and some kind of feudal economic system in a crumbling environment?
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
by Jon Meacham
2018/ 416 pages
read by Fred Sanders – 10h 54m
rating: 10 / history and current events
I read this book for the All-Nonfiction group where I believe I nominated it because of the author and the subject. Stephen Pinker wrote The Better Angels of Our Nature which I read back in 2012 and then another book, Enlightenment Now which I read this very years. Meacham’s book takes a similar stand except that he approaches it through US political history.
The phrase, “the better angels of our natures… ” is from Abraham Lincoln’s 1st inaugural address – no, Lincoln was not perfect, but Meacham puts him into perspective.
Jon Meacham has taken up the argument that civilization is improving and providing humanity with better lives.
Meacham’s an optimist. He says we in the United States, have seen very troubled times before and this book takes the reader back to the end of the Civil War then through Reconstruction, Teddy Roosevelt, the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Depression, the Red Scares, Huey Long, and so on – JFK, Martin Luther King and on through Ronald Reagan and in the conclusion, Barack Obama. Donald Trump is mentioned in a few scattered places.
We’ve seen fear and hatred which fosters division and turmoil in many areas – racial, ethnic, gender and religious intolerance and strife – economic oppression. The list goes on.