Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Jon Meacham

Friday, May 18, 2018 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

In The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and 2013 BOOKED for the evening honoree Jon Meacham looks back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear to help us understand the present moment in American politics and life. 

Preferred seating tickets are available with the purchase of a book. The early-bird price is $26 for up to two seats. If want an additional copy or if you are unable to attend, you may also reserve a signed copy for the pre-event price of $26. A limited number of general admission seats will be available. Books will be for sale at the event for $30 each. Register online.

Note location: Westport Town Hall Auditorium, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport

Community partners: The League of Women Voters & the Yale Clubs of Eastern and LowerFairfield County

NPR's Steve Inskeep interviews Meacham on May 1.

NPR "Fresh Air" interview, May 2, with Meacham on Soul of America

“This is a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book. Jon Meacham explores the extremism and racism that have infected our politics, and he draws enlightening lessons from the knowledge that we’ve faced such trials before.”—Walter Isaacson

“Jon Meacham has done it again, this time with a historically rich and gracefully written account of America’s long struggle with division in our immigrant nation and the heroic efforts to heal the wounds. It should be in every home and on every student’s desk.”—Tom Brokaw

Our current climate of partisan fury is not new. Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King, Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women’s rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson’s crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear—a struggle that continues even now.

While the American story has not always—or even often—been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before”—as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail.

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. The author of the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, Franklin and Winston, and Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, he is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University, a contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review, and a fellow of the Society of American Historians.

Author photo credit Heidi Ross.

Westport Town Hall

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