The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels

Random. May 2018. 416p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780399589812. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780399589836. HIST
OrangeReviewStarHistory does not actually repeat itself, but studying how countries have worked through trying times can be reassuring. This is the message that Pulitzer Prize-winning Meacham (political science, Vanderbilt Univ.; American Lion) provides in his exceptional new book. Here, Meacham recalls the struggles the United States has faced, including issues of racism, sexism, war, and pestilence. The author describes how, through what Lincoln famously called "the better angels of our nature," the country has prevailed and tried to move forward in the fervent belief that all Americans deserve guarantees of equality and justice. Using examples of challenging periods in U.S. history, such as Reconstruction, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, and the anti-Communist witch hunts led by Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, Meacham helps readers understand that the country has experienced difficulties before and will endure them again.
VERDICT An excellent work by a skilled historian and worthy of all library collections.
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