American Gospel by Jon Meacham
God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 8 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

The American Gospel–literally, the good news about America–is that religion shapes our public life without controlling it. In this vivid book, New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham tells the human story of how the Founding Fathers viewed faith, and how they ultimately created a nation in which belief in God is a matter of choice.

At a time when our country seems divided by extremism, American Gospel draws on the past to offer a new perspective. Meacham re-creates the fascinating history of a nation grappling with religion and politics–from John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” sermon to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence; from the Revolution to the Civil War; from a proposed nineteenth-century Christian Amendment to the Constitution to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for civil rights; from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.

Debates about religion and politics are often more divisive than illuminating. Secularists point to a “wall of separation between church and state,” while many conservatives act as though the Founding Fathers were apostles in knee britches. As Meacham shows in this brisk narrative, neither extreme has it right. At the heart of the American experiment lies the God of what Benjamin Franklin called “public religion,” a God who invests all human beings with inalienable rights while protecting private religion from government interference. It is a great American balancing act, and it has served us well.

Meacham has written and spoken extensively about religion and politics, and he brings historical authority and a sense of hope to the issue. American Gospel makes it compellingly clear that the nation’s best chance of summoning what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” lies in recovering the spirit and sense of the Founding. In looking back, we may find the light to lead us forward.

 

About Jon Meacham

See more books from this Author
Jon Meacham is the editor of Newsweek and author of American Lion and the New York Times bestsellers Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship and American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. He lives in New York City with his wife and children.
 
Published March 20, 2007 by Random House. 448 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for American Gospel

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Newsweek editor Meacham asserts at the start of this treatise on religion and its role in the nation's development: If totalitarianism was the great problem of the twentieth century, then extremism

Apr 03 2006 | Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Historian and Newsweek editor Meacham's third book examines over 200 years of American history in its quest to prove the idea of religious tolerance, along with the separation of church and state, is

Apr 03 2006 | Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

“And in Jackson’s case, it was a brawl in which he could not stand to lose ground or points, even for a moment.” “American Lion” also manages, without becoming unduly excited by what the future president Martin Van Buren would call “this disgusting petticoat business,” to convey the stubbornness ...

Nov 09 2008 | Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Historian and Newsweek editor Meacham's third book examines over 200 years of American history in its quest to prove the idea of religious tolerance, along with the separation of church and state, is ""perhaps the most brilliant American success."" Meacham's principal focus is on the founding fat...

| Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

USA Today

Meacham, however, possesses an unusually deft touch.As he did with his best seller, Franklin and Winston, about the complicated bond between the U.S. and British World War II leaders, Meacham writes about the past and its figures without losing his reader in a bog of research and detail.Meacham a...

Apr 13 2006 | Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

Deseret News

The author makes a point of declaring that every American is free to believe as he or she wishes with respect to religion and that the business of government is separate from those private beliefs.

May 14 2006 | Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

Bookmarks Magazine

The editor of Newsweek magazine, Jon Meacham has written two previous books on American history: American Gospel, which explored the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers, and Franklin and Winston, which examined the relationship between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

Nov 16 2008 | Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

Las Vegas Review Journal

"American Lion" is fascinating and well-written — I certainly recommend it — but as I closed this book for the final time, I felt — there I go, modern American that I am!

Oct 22 2009 | Read Full Review of American Gospel: God, the Fou...

Reader Rating for American Gospel
79%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 164 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×