Synopses & Reviews
The venerated religious scholar and bestselling author of Money and the Meaning of Life
provides a history of America from an angle never before conceived: how the spiritual vision of the founders shaped our nation.
What was the spiritual vision of the founding fathers-and how can we reclaim it today? This inquiry lies at the heart of Jacob Needleman's The American Soul. In mini-biographies of the founders-including Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin-Needleman explores their core inner beliefs, their religious and spiritual sensibilities, and their individual understandings of the purpose of life. The founders, he argues, conceived of an "inner democracy": a continual pursuit of wisdom and self-improvement that would undergird the outer democracy in which we live.
Needleman also explores how the religious and spiritual traditions of the Native Americans, the African slaves, and America's early mystical communities, such as those based in Quakerism, wielded an enormous -and sometimes hidden-impact on the shape of our young nation.
The American Soul gives readers a new conception of what America meant in its founding, and what it can mean today.
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.