Historian Jon Meacham looks at America’s Trump-era politics of rage and resentment and sees a straight line to the past. In this study of American domestic strife, Meacham argues that the nation has often fallen into dark times; yet it has always reemerged, thanks in large part to the heroic actions of its presidents. He sees Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson as titanic figures who appealed to what Lincoln called Americans’ “better angels.” None of the men were completely idealistic, Meacham reports. Even Lincoln was willing to tolerate slavery, for a time. The measure of a hero, Meacham argues, is not perfection but a willingness to fight for what’s right. This compelling overview of American political history reframes familiar events in a new way.
About the Author
Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian whose subjects have included Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt. He is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University.