American Gospel

  • by Jon Meacham
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In American Gospel (literally meaning the "good news about America"), New York Times best-selling author Jon Meacham sets the record straight on the history of religion in American public life. As Meacham shows, faith, meaning a belief in a higher power, and the sense that we are God's chosen, has always been at the heart of our national experience, from Jamestown to the Constitutional Convention to the Civil Rights Movement to September 11th. And yet, first and foremost, America is a nation founded upon the principles of liberty and freedom. Every American is free to exercise his own faith or no faith at all. And so a balance is struck, between public religion and private religion; and religious belief is distinct from morality. As Meacham explains, the well-known "wall" between church and state has always separated private religion from the business of the state, yet religious belief is part of the basic foundation of government. Brilliantly articulating an argument that links the Founding Fathers to an insightful contemporary point of view, American Gospel renews our understanding of history, and what public religion has meant in America, so that we can move beyond today's religious and political extremism toward a truer understanding of the place of faith in American society.


What the Critics Say

"An insightful and eloquent account of the spiritual foundation of the early days of the American republic." (Tom Brokaw)
"A refreshingly clear, balanced, and wise historical portrait of religion and American politics at exactly the moment when such fairness and understanding are much needed." (David McCullough, author of 1776)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Conservatives Beware!!!

Please read "The Light and the Glory" if you want a true and complete history of the founders and their faith. If you are a liberal and want a history of the founders with a major slant toward tolerance, this is your book. Tons of quotes taken out of context and pick and choose type of quotes to make the author's case. Liberals will LOVE it. Real conservatives, true Christians (ones who believe every word of the Bible to be the true Word of God and are not selective) should save their money or at least purchase the above mentioned book. Liberal democrats must have paid this guy to write this one. I hate that I purchased this book and supported such an author and could somehow be supporting him to write another. However, the narrator is one of my favorites and does excellent work. Liberals enjoy!!! Conservatives, don't say I didn't warn you. You'll be lucky not to loose your lunch by half way through.
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- DMHVetSurveyor

what you weren't taught in school

Do you think the early settlers on our shores wanted to escape religious intolerance and to plant the seeds of religious liberty? Do you think America was founded to be a "Christian nation"? Do you think the founding "fathers" were men who shared a religious or world view with today's Christian fundamentalists/evangelicals? Think again.

Our history is very much more complex and fascinating than quick yes answers to those questions might suggest. Founded by religious men -- without a doubt. But founded too by deists, by agnostics, by men who felt the divinity of Christ to be an idea created by a corrupt Catholic church.

The author does have a point-of-view, of course, and he's not shy about setting it out. But it's fair to say that his aim is to help readers see through our national myths to the varied religious and intellectual currents that brought the country together.

He does it masterfully -- an engrossing yarn filled with information you didn't hear in school, well told, and well read.
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- Stanley

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2006
  • Publisher: Random House Audio