The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders

Needleman, Jacob

Published by Tarcher, 2002
ISBN 10: 1585421383 / ISBN 13: 9781585421381
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The distinguished philosopher and bestselling author offers a compelling new understanding of the meaning of America, from the spiritual vision of its founding fathers to the hope it can offer to our increasingly threatened world.

At the heart of Jacob Needleman's The American Soul is a call to rediscover the timeless truths hidden within the founding vision of the American nation. Embedded in the ideals of democracy, individual liberty, and freedom of conscience is a view of human nature that echoes essential aspects of the wisdom that has guided every great civilization of the world. Free of all religious and philosophical dogma, and liberated from historical and political clichés, this uniquely American vision contains the power to speak again to the modern world's need for meaning and community.

Throughout the book, Needleman takes a new sounding of the inner beliefs and spiritual sensibilities of the great iconic figures of American history. His powerfully conceived portraits show us Washington as the great symbol of selfless impartiality; Jefferson as the embodiment of the communal search for truth; Franklin as the seeker of knowledge in two worlds. Lincoln emerges as the incarnation of the ideal of the individual; Frederick Douglass as the voice of America's conscience; and the story of the Iroquois constitution reveals the cosmic dimensions of our own ideal of democracy.

Needleman shows how the crimes and defeats of America -slavery, the destruction of the culture of the American Indian, the Vietnam war - cry out for a vision of a nation asleep to its own spiritual essence, while bringing home the depth of what America owes to its own people and to the earth itself.

After an illuminating discussion of what we must learn from America's all-but-forgotten early mystical communities, Needleman concludes with a resounding call, echoing Walt Whitman's quest for a new American mythology, to understand what is truly eternal and indestructible in the American vision.

About the Author: The acclaimed author of The American Soul, Why Can’t We Be Good? and Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, and former Director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. He lives in Oakland, CA.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom ...
Publisher: Tarcher
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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