#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND COSMOPOLITAN
John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” From an early age, Lewis learned that nonviolence was not only a tactic but a philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. At the age of four, Lewis, ambitious to become a minister, practiced by preaching to his family’s chickens. When his mother cooked one of the chickens, the boy refused to eat it—his first act, he wryly recalled, of nonviolent protest. Integral to Lewis’s commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God—and an unshakable belief in the power of hope.
Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.” A believer in the injunction that one should love one's neighbor as oneself, Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful. In many ways he brought a still-evolving nation closer to realizing its ideals, and his story offers inspiration and illumination for Americans today who are working for social and political change.
Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. A contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Time magazine, he is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Hope of Glory, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, American Gospel, and Franklin and Winston. Meacham, who holds the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, lives in Nashville.
“A valuable discussion of an extraordinary man who deserves our everlasting admiration and gratitude.”—The Washington Post
“Meacham tells this story with his customary eloquence . . . a welcome reminder of the heroic sacrifices and remarkable achievements of those young radicals—20th-century America’s greatest generation.”—Eric Foner, The New York Times Book Review
“His Truth Is Marching On is well worth reading, especially for readers with an abiding interest in the intersection of religion and progressive politics . . . an inspiring book that comes at a time when the world desperately needs inspiration.”—NPR
“An elegant, moving portrait of a giant of post-1950 American history.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Meacham talks directly to the reader, his eyes burning, his voice calm but quaking with emotion. . . . Meacham takes the familiar story of the scars and bruises on John Lewis’ body as literally an embodiment of the struggles of the civil rights era, and brings alive with cinematic conviction the backstory of how specifically those blows came about.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“His Truth Is Marching On combines careful reporting, historic photographs, and detailed notes and appendices. But the book ultimately shines brightest as a story of how one man made a difference by believing in justice and offering hope for a nation in difficult times.”—Chapter 16