web site hit counter His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

Availability: Ready to download

An intimate and inspiring portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, is a visionary and a man An intimate and inspiring portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, is a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis and deep research into the history of the civil rights movement, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and a 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." A believer in hope above all else, Lewis learned from a young age 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 nation-state in the eighteenth century. He did what he did--risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful--not in spite of America, but because of America, and not in spite of religion, but because of religion." In many ways Lewis made his vision a reality, and his example offers Americans today a map for social and political change.


Compare

An intimate and inspiring portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, is a visionary and a man An intimate and inspiring portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present--from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, is a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis and deep research into the history of the civil rights movement, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and a 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." A believer in hope above all else, Lewis learned from a young age 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 nation-state in the eighteenth century. He did what he did--risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful--not in spite of America, but because of America, and not in spite of religion, but because of religion." In many ways Lewis made his vision a reality, and his example offers Americans today a map for social and political change.

30 review for His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    It is hard to accept that in such A relatively short space of time , two wonderful people like John Lewis and RBG have been taken from us. Two who represented the best of society and politics. The best of us. John Lewis was a man of deep faith, a man who wanted to improve the lives of his people, and did it peacefully, legally. He was beaten, thrown in prison, yet his resolve never wavered. Meacham due a fine job showing us what compelled him on to this path and what he hoped to accomplish. He w It is hard to accept that in such A relatively short space of time , two wonderful people like John Lewis and RBG have been taken from us. Two who represented the best of society and politics. The best of us. John Lewis was a man of deep faith, a man who wanted to improve the lives of his people, and did it peacefully, legally. He was beaten, thrown in prison, yet his resolve never wavered. Meacham due a fine job showing us what compelled him on to this path and what he hoped to accomplish. He was a man of integrity, a man with a deep, commanding voice that demanded to be heard. This is the man one reads about in this book. The kind of man we need more of in this country, where dishonesty is now so often portrayed as truth. In the back of the book we read Lewis in his own words. Impressive and unforgettable, as was the man himself.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Part history, part philosophical tome, His Truth is Marching On gives us John Lewis’s story as a civil rights activist. Arrested 45 times in his life, Lewis was a strong proponent of the nonviolent approach to political change. Even as times and opinions changed, he stood by his creed of nonviolence and a faith in a “beloved community”. Jon Meachum was granted numerous interviews with Lewis and we truly get to see the soul of the man. Deeply religious, he felt called to put his life on the line Part history, part philosophical tome, His Truth is Marching On gives us John Lewis’s story as a civil rights activist. Arrested 45 times in his life, Lewis was a strong proponent of the nonviolent approach to political change. Even as times and opinions changed, he stood by his creed of nonviolence and a faith in a “beloved community”. Jon Meachum was granted numerous interviews with Lewis and we truly get to see the soul of the man. Deeply religious, he felt called to put his life on the line in the service of what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”. The book is much more than a history lesson. It is a religious treatise, spelling out the reasoning behind his belief in the nonviolent approach. It is a testament to a man of strong convictions, a man that Meachum compares to the saints. As Meachum himself says in the Author’s Note, it is “an appreciative account of the major moments of Lewis’s life in the movement, of the theological understanding he brought to the struggle, and of the utility of that vision as America enters the third decade of the twenty-first century amid division and fear.” This isn’t an easy read. And the pictures included show just how violent the times were. But it is a truly necessary book that needs to be read to understand the history of the movement and the importance of the man. If Lewis was a Moses, we are reminded of the need for a generation of Joshuas to rise up and carry on the fight, especially in this tragically divided time. An article in today’s NY Times reminds us that democracy is not a given. It can be taken away and there are those right now that seek to do just that. Lewis fought to make sure America became a true democracy. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I have decided to embark on a mission to read a number of books on subjects that will be of great importance to the upcoming 2020 US Presidential Election. Many of these will focus on actors intricately involved in the process, in hopes that I can understand them better and, perhaps, educate others with the power to cast a ballot. I am, as always, open to serious recommendations from anyone who has a book I might like to include in the process. This is Book #1 in my 2020 US Election Preparation I have decided to embark on a mission to read a number of books on subjects that will be of great importance to the upcoming 2020 US Presidential Election. Many of these will focus on actors intricately involved in the process, in hopes that I can understand them better and, perhaps, educate others with the power to cast a ballot. I am, as always, open to serious recommendations from anyone who has a book I might like to include in the process. This is Book #1 in my 2020 US Election Preparation Challenge. The name of John Robert Lewis is one that is fairly new to me, though I have come to realise that this man was more than a feisty congressman who sought to fight against the injustices he saw in America. Jon Meacham, one of the best political/presidential biographers I have had the pleasure of reading, chose Lewis in his latest book exploring how American history and politics go hand in hand. Born to a large family in Troy, Alabama, John Lewis developed a passion for the Lord, as well as for the spoken word. He took as his first congregation the flock of chickens on his family farm, though few would so much as listen to him, as Meacham extols in the early part of the book. From there, Lewis sought to educate himself on the ways of becoming closer to God, while also living under some oppressive laws governing the southern states at the time. In the late 1950s, as Lewis was finishing high school and fighting to uphold the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the US Supreme Court, he met a young Martin Luther King, Jr. and became mesmerised by all this boisterous preacher had to say. Lewis soon began a life that was not only dedicated to the teachings of Jesus, but for the non-violent means by which King sought to change the laws in the United States as it related to the treatment of Blacks. Meacham explores in-depth the violent ways that Lewis, King, and many others were treated during the bus boycotts, sit-ins, and marches, culminating in the (in)famous one in Selma, Alabama. Lewis suffered many injuries, including a fractured skull, during his years seeking justice and yet he would not back down, nor would he raise a fist to his White oppressors. Meacham tells the story in much detail, offering interesting perspectives from political and social leaders on both sides of the civil rights movement, all of whom knew John Lewis well. Even when Lewis took a step back from the movement, he was passionate about protecting Black rights in the United States. He mourned the loss of King in 1968 and sought to make changes when he moved to Atlanta. Finally successful in winning a seat in the US House of Representatives in 1986, Lewis used his voice to push for change, not only in Atlanta, but for people all across the country, never forgetting the need to put the rights of Blacks into all legislation. In the closing portion of the book, Meacham touches on Lewis’ sentiments during the recent political goings-on, including the Trump inauguration and impeachment proceedings, two events Lewis used to state his strong opinions in non-violent and anti-vitriolic means. Most telling of all, when Lewis passed away in July 2020, and many on both sides of the political spectrum flocked to pay their respects to a leader in America’s civil rights movement, President Trump refused to do so. While no surprise to many, one would have hoped that, like Lewis, Trump might have looked past politics and looked to the core of the man. A sensational piece that permits Jon Meacham to offer not only a mini-biography of John Lewis, but also provide a biographical outlook of the civil rights movement, the earlier push for the importance of Black lives in America. A must read for all those who love learning about American political history, and strongly recommended for anyone who looks out at America today and has yet to cast their ballot for president. Even though I knew little about John Lewis, as soon as I discovered that this book would touch on American civil rights in the 1960s, I was firmly committed to tackling it. When I found out that Jon Meacham was at the helm, there was no doubt that I would take the time to read this book and discover all that I could. Meacham handles the story with aplomb, pulling out many of the well-known stories about abuse at lunch counters, riots outside bus stations, and the marches that turned bloody as soon as the police arrived on scene. Meacham adds the voices of those from both sides of the movement, not only the protestors, to give the reader a more complete view. The White House message, the gubernatorial declarations, the police views, and even the general public, as well as the prayers and proclamations of King, Lewis, and others who sought to rally Blacks to stand up for themselves, but turned the other cheek. There is wonderful contrast in the book as well with the violent movement of the Black Panthers and Malcolm X as they sought to strike and kill in retaliation to push for Black rights. Meacham never strays from his message, which seeks to explore the mindset of John Lewis, and divides the book into key chapters according to timelines, all of which help to better hash out America’ reaction to the non-violence in the 1960s. I kept thinking to myself, if Meacham could do so well with this, a snapshot of Lewis’ life, how wonderful it would be to see a complete exploration of the man into the 1970s and through to his death in 2020. One can only hope that someone will pick up from here and ensure young people know those pioneers that came before them to make America great, even if bigotry remains simmering on the back burner. Meacham almost begs the reader to draw parallels between the 1960s and today, as violence seeks to divide the country again. Perhaps, like Lewis and King, Americans can choose the non-violent means of pushing back, by casting an all-important ballot for president in 2020. Don’t let the blood be shed in vain! Kudos, Mr. Meacham, for sparking my passion in US politics and social movements. I cannot wait to see what else you find to explore, as you educate readers so effectively. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  4. 5 out of 5

    abby

    "I couldn't accept the way things were, I just couldn't." -- John Lewis A few pages into this book, I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it, much less give it five stars. Indeed, I felt a bit... bamboozled... by the heavy religious content of the first section of the book, for which I did not think the blurb prepared me. While I have nothing against Christian books, I was not raised in that faith, and don't tend to read anything marketed as Christian literature. But the first section of this bo "I couldn't accept the way things were, I just couldn't." -- John Lewis A few pages into this book, I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it, much less give it five stars. Indeed, I felt a bit... bamboozled... by the heavy religious content of the first section of the book, for which I did not think the blurb prepared me. While I have nothing against Christian books, I was not raised in that faith, and don't tend to read anything marketed as Christian literature. But the first section of this book is thick with Christian philosophy. I plodded through it, irritated by what seemed false marketing, and ready to call it quits. I'm glad I didn't. While at first a bit of a slog, this book grew on me. The religious content is front loaded and theoretical discussion about whether John Lewis is a saint give way to earthly anecdotes of his times preaching to chickens as a child (including accidentally drowning one in a "baptism" only to have it come back to life). "Hate is too heavy a burden to bear." -- John Lewis The story of John Lewis is one of love. Lewis couldn't live in a country where black citizens didn't have equal rights, but he couldn't hate his oppressors either. He was looking for justice, not revenge. Lewis was a true believer in nonviolent protest: "You have to do more than just not hit back. You have to have no desire to hit back. You have to love that person who's hitting you." And hit him, they did. John Lewis was arrested over 40 times, spending time in the country's most brutal prisons. His skull was cracked open in the march from Selma and he almost died. But, still, Lewis remained unwavering in his commitment to nonviolence, even as it became less popular amongst his fellow Freedom Riders. This book is focused almost entirely on Lewis's time as a founding father of our nation's Civil Right's movement in the late 1950s and 1960s. It's not a topic I've studied much, and I found much of the content in this book enlightening. The writing, although technically proficient, isn't always riveting. This isn't a page turner. However, I'm glad I read it. John Lewis composed the afterword and leaves us with the last word: "We've come too far, we've made too much progress as a people to stand still or slip back. You have to believe that. You have to believe it. It's all going to work out."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    His Truth Is Marching On is, to my knowledge, the first book to be released since the passing of civil rights activist and Member of Congress, John Lewis. In this book the author Jon Meacham calls Lewis, as others have also begun to do, an American Founding Father of the 20th/21st Centuries and a saint, because of his willingness to suffer and potentially die for others. This book is not a traditional cradle to the grave biography, it mostly covers Lewis’s civil rights years. It begins by coverin His Truth Is Marching On is, to my knowledge, the first book to be released since the passing of civil rights activist and Member of Congress, John Lewis. In this book the author Jon Meacham calls Lewis, as others have also begun to do, an American Founding Father of the 20th/21st Centuries and a saint, because of his willingness to suffer and potentially die for others. This book is not a traditional cradle to the grave biography, it mostly covers Lewis’s civil rights years. It begins by covering Lewis’s early days as young boy who wanted to become a preacher and who actually preached to his chickens on his family’s farm. As a teenager he became disenchanted with the preaching he heard from most pastors that mostly focused on the afterlife and not the here and now. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a noted exception to that rule. King preached about the here and now, especially on what Christianity had to say about segregation and Jim Crow. Lewis’s new found mentor inspired him to get involved in the civil rights crusade. This book also covers the nonviolence training he received by the Rev. Jim Lawson, his participation in the Freedom Rides, his speech at the 1963 March on Washington, his role in Freedom Summer, the Selma campaign in 1965, and the beginning of the Black Power years of the late 1960s when his influence in the movement began to wane. Readers will notice that this is a very quote heavy book. You will read alot of Lewis’s own words as he recalled how events occurred at the time, either from interviews he did with Meacham or from his autobiography. As was mentioned earlier, this is not a full length treatment of his life, however Meacham briefly covers his post civil rights career in the Epilogue. A longer definitive book that covers his entire long life is needed. The book closes with an Afterword written by John Lewis. It is just as compelling as his New York Times piece that was published the day of his funeral. The Afterword gives readers their marching orders on how people can continue to make sure their society remains a just one. Ultimately, I view this book as spiritual follow up to Meacham’s recent book The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. John Lewis’s legacy and influence will continue to teach future generations how we can rise above the dark forces in society. Thanks to NetGalley, Random House, and Jon Meacham for a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on August 25, 2020. Review first published in Ballasts for the Mind: https://medium.com/ballasts-for-the-m...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Finished this book 2 minutes ago and wanted to send my feedback while it’s still raw and fresh in my mind. As a Middle Aged white woman who has lived her whole life ensconced in the northern part of the country in NJ, I didn’t organically learn much about the civil rights movement. In school it was touched on of course, and we learned who MLK Jr was, and Malcolm X. And truly I’ve spent 50 years not knowing much about the movement or the names of the countless others involved in the sacrifices an Finished this book 2 minutes ago and wanted to send my feedback while it’s still raw and fresh in my mind. As a Middle Aged white woman who has lived her whole life ensconced in the northern part of the country in NJ, I didn’t organically learn much about the civil rights movement. In school it was touched on of course, and we learned who MLK Jr was, and Malcolm X. And truly I’ve spent 50 years not knowing much about the movement or the names of the countless others involved in the sacrifices and marching and fighting that went on. Which shames me to admit, because I’m a lifelong Democrat and consider myself to be Progressive and I believe in loving your neighbor whether they are black or Muslim or gay or even a (gasp!) conservative republican. But given the political and social climate we currently live in, when I saw an ad for this book I was immediately interested. Was so happy and shocked that my request was granted from NetGalley to receive an advance copy. Anyway, I read it in a day, even with the constant putting the book down to google yet another name. The people this book introduced me to brought me to tears - Fannie Mae Hamer, Diane Nash, Autherine Lucy and C.T. Vivian just to name a few. And a few other names who brought tears to my eyes for all the wrong reasons - Jim Clark and Bull Connor to name a few. I didn’t know any of these people or their stories. Even though this is a book about John Lewis and I did learn so much about him and what an awe inspiring amazing man he truly was, I learned about those other people and their individual significance to the movement, both positive and negative. This book sheds some light on JFK and George Wallace as well, these people weren’t what they’d always seemed to be, at least not to me. This book shows that, forgive me for using this expression but it’s too apropos to avoid, life isn’t black and white. Which of course we know, but John Lewis lived it, finding And illustrating that grey area. The writing is excellent but the subject matter could write itself, it’s the research that the author has done that truly stands out. Also the pictures are awesome I only wish there were more. This book brought me to tears several times and man did it make me wish I’d had the honor of meeting John Lewis and having a conversation with this incredible man. Buy this book, read it and then loan it someone you love. Or maybe loan it to someone you should love but don’t. But make sure they give it back because this is one you’ll want to keep on your shelves forever. **I revived this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Jon Meacham writes that the late John Lewis was an American saint and was a "founding father to todays American ethnicity." After reading "His Truth is Marching On", I would have to say that Meacham has made a strong case to support this. John Lewis was born into a deeply segregated South. In his first thirty years on earth he would participate in Freedom Rides, Sit-ins and Marches. All in pursuit of racial equality and justice. Not only did he participate in the March on Washington, he was the fi Jon Meacham writes that the late John Lewis was an American saint and was a "founding father to todays American ethnicity." After reading "His Truth is Marching On", I would have to say that Meacham has made a strong case to support this. John Lewis was born into a deeply segregated South. In his first thirty years on earth he would participate in Freedom Rides, Sit-ins and Marches. All in pursuit of racial equality and justice. Not only did he participate in the March on Washington, he was the final speaker at that mass gathering. In 1965, he marched across the Edmund Pettis bridge into the armed Alabama troopers. For his bravery he received a blow to the head, stitches and a concussion. Lewis was unwavering in his determination to seek justice. The civil rights movement to him was "on the right side of history." It is difficult to understand how Lewis could keep fighting for justice while not succumbing to hate. He is quoted as saying, "you have to do more than just not hit back. You have to have no desire to hit back. You have to love the person who is hitting you." It is clear that fellow Southerner, Meacham admires John Lewis, The two men share a love of the Christian faith. Meacham feels that Lewis "embodied the traits of a saint in the classical Christian sense of the term." After reading this book, you may also believe this. With grace and love this man marched with determination on faith in pursuit of civil justice. This is not a biography but a review of Lewis' life on the front line of the fight for civil rights. Read it - then have a good discussion or two or three with those around you. I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #HisTruthisMarchingOn

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ms.pegasus

    Brown v. Board of Education, May 1954 – it was only Act One of a movement still in progress. While Thurgood Marshall was one of the voices urging caution, fearing needless bloodshed, the much younger John Lewis saw urgency in moving directly from the courts to society's institutions. August 1955, fourteen year old Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi. December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott. September 1957, Federal troops were dispatched to Central High Brown v. Board of Education, May 1954 – it was only Act One of a movement still in progress. While Thurgood Marshall was one of the voices urging caution, fearing needless bloodshed, the much younger John Lewis saw urgency in moving directly from the courts to society's institutions. August 1955, fourteen year old Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi. December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott. September 1957, Federal troops were dispatched to Central High School in Little Rock to enforce the enrollment of nine Black students. People would die as Marshall feared: four young girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing; four Freedom Summer workers murdered in 1964 near Philadelphia, Mississippi. These incidents are frozen in my memory as separate events. By placing John Lewis at the center of the movement, Meacham invokes the powerful emotional continuity that fueled the Civil Rights movement. Meacham captures more than chronology, more than the appalling atrocities that jolted the nation. He captures the turbulent arguments and steadfast commitment to nonviolence that guided John Lewis. Lewis fused the intellectual framework of Reinhold Niebuhr, Gandhi's spiritually rooted satyagraha and his own passionate understanding of Christianity. “Reason, devoid of the purifying power of faith, can never free itself from distortions and rationalizations.” (p.12) Religion was Lewis' lodestone. Yet, just as Thurgood Marshall was overtaken by a younger generation, Lewis would in turn be overtaken by Stokely Carmichael's secular militarism: "We have got to move to a position where we will control our needs. This country don't run on love, Brothers, it's run on power and we ain't got none.” (p.218) In 1966 Carmichael beat out Lewis for the chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and “Black Power” became for a time the new rallying cry. Lewis, always humble, was forced to admit that the loss of the chairmanship hurt his ego. However, he never turned away from the precepts of his faith, despite ongoing tragedies: April 4, 1968 – Martin Luther King assassinated; June 6, 1968 – Robert F. Kennedy assassinated. In 2008 he still spoke of the Beloved Community. “'Beloved' meaning not hateful, not violent, not uncaring, not unkind, and 'Community' meaning not separated, not polarized, not locked in struggle; the Beloved Community is an all-inclusive world society based on simple justice, the values, the dignity, and the worth of every human being, and that is the Kingdom of God.” (p.233) Meacham relies heavily on Lewis' own eloquent words to fill his narrative. Even in the 21st century, even to those who are not religious or who associate religion solely with white evangelical politicization, his words are worth listening to. They are every bit as powerful as the voice of Martin Luther King. This was the selection of our local book club. I had fallen behind in my reading that month but the positive reactions of the members persuaded me to read this book. I'm glad that I did. NOTES: Article which conveys the spirit of this book-focusing on the historical context rather than simply the heroic contribution of a single leader https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/us...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope was a beautiful book by historian Jon Meacham about one of the civil rights movement's greatest warriors, John Robert Lewis. From his courageous sit-ins to integrate lunch counters and movie theaters in Nashville during the Jim Crow era in the South to his participation in the Freedom Rides to his march from Selma over the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, Jon Meacham brings the story of this beautiful man and the civil rights movem His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope was a beautiful book by historian Jon Meacham about one of the civil rights movement's greatest warriors, John Robert Lewis. From his courageous sit-ins to integrate lunch counters and movie theaters in Nashville during the Jim Crow era in the South to his participation in the Freedom Rides to his march from Selma over the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, Jon Meacham brings the story of this beautiful man and the civil rights movement to life in a riveting and personal way. Perhaps Jon Meacham says it best: "To John Lewis, the truth of his life--a truth he had lived out on that bridge in 1965--was of a piece with the demands of the gospel to which he dedicated his life since he was a child. He was moved by love, not by hate. He was 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 creation of the republic in the eighteenth century. This is not hyperbole. It is a fact--observable, discernible, undeniable fact." The book is not only a tribute to John Lewis but a remarkable history with photographs throughout that gives one a lot of background while bringing that unsettling time in America to life culminating with the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F Kennedy. Jon Meacham draws on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis showing how the youngest son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, including Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr. The final chapter in this book is the Afterword by John Lewis giving his perspective on the civil rights movement and what he sees as our journey forward today.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    I've heard Jon Meacham speak on TV, and I like his historical perspectives since I'm a history buff. So, I thought I'd read his new biography on John Lewis. Though it isn't a full-scale biography, Meacham covers John Lewis' eventful years during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Meacham writes well and includes literary quotes in his narrative. He includes interesting details, some of them humorous. He also quotes extensively from John Lewis, so I got a better feel for him. A lot of the ma I've heard Jon Meacham speak on TV, and I like his historical perspectives since I'm a history buff. So, I thought I'd read his new biography on John Lewis. Though it isn't a full-scale biography, Meacham covers John Lewis' eventful years during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Meacham writes well and includes literary quotes in his narrative. He includes interesting details, some of them humorous. He also quotes extensively from John Lewis, so I got a better feel for him. A lot of the material I hadn't read before. I believe I've read one other history by Jon Meacham. Anyway, the story moves right along, and I wasn't disappointed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    HBalikov

    This book is about John Lewis not Jon Meacham. Yet, I could not help reflecting on Meacham’s journey as well. His perceptive insights into our nation’s turning points has evolved into a investigations of the “American soul.” https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Here he brings to an uplifting saga of a civil rights leader who has had a profound influence on our lives. I didn’t realize in how many ways, until having read this book. I believe it helped to have recently read Du Bois’ The Souls of This book is about John Lewis not Jon Meacham. Yet, I could not help reflecting on Meacham’s journey as well. His perceptive insights into our nation’s turning points has evolved into a investigations of the “American soul.” https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Here he brings to an uplifting saga of a civil rights leader who has had a profound influence on our lives. I didn’t realize in how many ways, until having read this book. I believe it helped to have recently read Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, upon which both Lewis and Meacham reflect. “’I was fundamentally disturbed by the unbridled meanness of the world around me…Though I was not yet familiar with the words of the Declaration of Independence, I could feel in my bones that segregation was wrong, and I felt I had an obligation to change it.’ Nearly half a century earlier…W.E.B. Du Bois had captured something of what Lewis was experiencing. ‘One ever feels his two-ness---an American, a Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength along keeps it from being torn asunder…The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife---this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self….He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon b his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face.’” https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... When the iconic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama was being formulated a major debate between two Civil Rights groups, the SCLC (headed by Martin Luther King) and the SNCC (chaired by Lewis), broke out. “Lewis thought the debate missed the larger point---and to him the larger point was that tribulation was a necessary precursor to the Beloved Community. There could be no crown without the cross, no Easter without Good Friday.” His decision was contrary to the consensus of SNCC, but he chose to march along with King “as John Lewis, not as the chairman of SNCC.” And, we know how history has seen his role in that historic march. Here is part of Meacham’s evaluation of Lewis’ impact. “The movement of which Lewis had been an integral part had done more to change America for the better than any single domestic undertaking since the Civil War, joining emancipation and women’s suffrage as brilliant chapters in an uneven yet unfolding national story---could these things illuminate life in America in the twenty-first century? Lewis believed so. ‘If Martin Luther King, Jr. were here today, he would still be saying we are all in this together…Maybe, just maybe he would say to us today that our forefathers and our foremothers all came here in a different ship to this land, to this great country, but we are all now in the same boat.’”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope By Jon Meacham, John Lewis (Afterword) One of humanity’s immovable bastions of hope and future progress has moved on to the next part of his journey. . .John Lewis. The author of His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope has provided us a way to review this man’s life journey and goals within the context of his time, experiences and those carried forward by his people as they raised him up. At the end of his life, he has His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope By Jon Meacham, John Lewis (Afterword) One of humanity’s immovable bastions of hope and future progress has moved on to the next part of his journey. . .John Lewis. The author of His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope has provided us a way to review this man’s life journey and goals within the context of his time, experiences and those carried forward by his people as they raised him up. At the end of his life, he has blessed us as a nation, made us better as a people, whether we accept that or not – it is simply truth. Having a means to better learn his story, his struggles, failures and victories, his method of engaging in good trouble unfolds in this book. The afterword of the book is authored by John Lewis, himself. It is a confident and hopeful push to all readers to continue to create that Beloved Community, find the way forward which will be unique to each of us. All politics aside, we have all been loved by him. He left his words as evidence of his faith in us to bring about the best good from the choices we have before us. Jon Meacham’s book gives a worthy reflection of this important man, reminding us that not only are the shining stars important. . .the ordinary stars, taking extraordinary measures to ensure everyday progress for all, are just as important and shine just as long. A Sincere Thanks to Jon Meacham, Random House and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Helga Cohen

    Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, described John Lewis as a saint in our time in this terrific book. He was a believer in the command that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself. He risked his life for his beliefs. He was a Freedom rider involved in sit ins, marched in Selma, Alabama at age 25 and beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and followed the visionary beliefs of Martin Luther King. He learned that non-violence was a philosophy and biblical command. He said: “We marched for Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, described John Lewis as a saint in our time in this terrific book. He was a believer in the command that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself. He risked his life for his beliefs. He was a Freedom rider involved in sit ins, marched in Selma, Alabama at age 25 and beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and followed the visionary beliefs of Martin Luther King. He learned that non-violence was a philosophy and biblical command. He said: “We marched for what Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr called the ‘Beloved Community’, he taught us that we have to use not only voices but there comes a time when you have to use your feet. And that march, the march for love, that march doesn’t end.” John Lewis was a man of tremendous courage, faith and principle. He was arrested 46 times during his life. The terrible treatment he and others endured during his life is hard to fathom and it is still doing on today. This is not a complete biography, but Meacham writes an account of the major moments of Lewis’s life in the civil rights movement and of theological understanding he brought to the struggle. The author introduces us to Lewis from his humble beginnings as a child to his years of activism and briefly his years in Congress as “the conscience of Congress”. Meacham, in a moving way discussed Lewis’s faith intertwined with a deep understanding of Scripture into a moving elegy. Jon Meacham, a great biographer, in this book captured the essence of Lewis and what the civil rights movement was in the inside and in doing so memorialized Lewis. The pictures were captivating, and the afterword written by John Lewis is priceless. I highly recommend this book. Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year. It is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”-John Lewis What can we do? We have to try, we have to speak, we have to speak up. America can be saved.”-John Lewis

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    John Lewis' life could fill hundreds and hundreds of pages. Jon Meacham's book "His Truth is Marching On" focuses on Lewis' major life events surrounding the fight for civil rights. While much is known by many about the overall highlights of Jon's life- the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, his speech on the March on Washington (though overshadowed by King's "I Have a Dream" speech, his long tenure in Congress, Meacham expands on these events as well as other significant events in John's li John Lewis' life could fill hundreds and hundreds of pages. Jon Meacham's book "His Truth is Marching On" focuses on Lewis' major life events surrounding the fight for civil rights. While much is known by many about the overall highlights of Jon's life- the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, his speech on the March on Washington (though overshadowed by King's "I Have a Dream" speech, his long tenure in Congress, Meacham expands on these events as well as other significant events in John's life. Lewis' great-grandfather was born enslaved, and John's youth was spent learning about religion, and was enrolled in a theological seminary. As a young man, he is enthralled with the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other teachers of nonviolence (something he adheres to when others stray from those techniques later in the movement). Religion plays a crucial role in John's life and he believes in the social gospel. One can forget how YOUNG Lewis was during his activism in the freedom rides and sit-ins, the amount of times he was arrested, and how badly beaten he was (his march in Selma fractured his skull and caused a severe concussion). The march in Selma (and the videos seen on TV) really was a catalyst for America to see how horrible things were, and ushered the Voting Rights Act in. Meacham distills a lot of history down, and uses illustrative examples of events Lewis participated in, quotes of people he very much admired, and challenges he faced. The book winds down with the transformation after the Voting Rights Act with increased violence, the rise of the Black Power and Black Panther movements, while John's role in his organization is diminished as he adheres to his non-violent philosophy. Sweeping laws were passed in the 1960's but systemic racism remained, and STILL remain. The book concludes with the assassinations of King and Bobby Kennedy, and Lewis' work in Congress is touched on in the epilogue. I greatly appreciated the Afterword by Lewis on how his philosophy is still applicable in today's current environment and the hope that he has for the future. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to reach this advance copy for review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alan Tomkins-Raney

    This book finished strong, especially the afterword written by Lewis himself just before his death. Lewis's persistent faith in the Beloved Community, an interracial democracy, and in the principles and power of non-violence moved me deeply. I must say, though, that this book was not what I expected. It is not a biography of John Lewis, per se, but rather a history of the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1968, with an emphasis on Lewis's role in it. Very educational and very edifying, this boo This book finished strong, especially the afterword written by Lewis himself just before his death. Lewis's persistent faith in the Beloved Community, an interracial democracy, and in the principles and power of non-violence moved me deeply. I must say, though, that this book was not what I expected. It is not a biography of John Lewis, per se, but rather a history of the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1968, with an emphasis on Lewis's role in it. Very educational and very edifying, this book is well worth reading. It will captivate you with its powerful narrative, charged with what Lewis called "the Spirit of History."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    I learned a lot more than I thought I would.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    The day of John Lewis' death I began reading the egalley for His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and The Power of Hope by Jon Meacham. It was a hard book to read, and heartbreaking, for Lewis was willing to lay down his life to achieve a just society, and he faced the most vicious violence. Lewis has left behind a country still divided and angry, the dream of a Beloved Community unfulfilled. The struggle for the promise of America continues. Meacham writes, "John Robert Lewis embodied the traits The day of John Lewis' death I began reading the egalley for His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and The Power of Hope by Jon Meacham. It was a hard book to read, and heartbreaking, for Lewis was willing to lay down his life to achieve a just society, and he faced the most vicious violence. Lewis has left behind a country still divided and angry, the dream of a Beloved Community unfulfilled. The struggle for the promise of America continues. Meacham writes, "John Robert Lewis embodied the traits of a saint in the classical Christian sense of the term," a man who answered the call to do the Lord's work in the world. A man who faced tribulation and persecution for seeking the justice we are called to enact as our faith responsibility. A man who sought redemption for his country. A man whose faith never flagged, not in the face of hate and blows, not when the movement shifted away from non-violence. He was faithful to his Gospel call of peace and the establishment of The Beloved Community. "The tragedy of man," the twentieth-century Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr observed, "is that he can conceive self-perfection but cannot achieve it," Meacham quotes, adding, "And the tragedy of America is that we can imagine justice but cannot finally realize it." I was only twenty when I married a seminary student. Professors and the school Dean had worked to integrate churches in the South. (see NYT article here.) I audited classes taught by these men. One wrote a seminal work on White Privilege, Segregation and the Bible. Another taught Niebuhr Moral Man in Immoral Society. It was an atmosphere that believed in faith in action, changing society to bring the Gospel to fulfillment. The world has changed, including the church. Personal salvation and sanctity replaced social justice. Church as entertainment and community evolved. Separation from general society was the norm, with Christian music and businesses arising. We hardly recognize contemporary Christianity, especially it's alignment with Trump's divisive and racist actions. We are at a decisive moment in history. What future will American choose? Meacham is an inspirational and eloquent writer. His portrait of Lewis begins in his childhood through the Civil Rights movement and the Voting Rights act, ending with the rise of Black Power. Meacham calls for us to be inspired by the life of John Lewis as we decide on our future in America. Will we remain divided and filled with hate? Or will we embrace love and faith in the value of every being? "God's truth is marching on," he reminds us, "We can do it...I believe we can do it." Meacham ends his book with hope that America will yet achieve a just society. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    John Lewis was a civil rights icon and a man of faith whose story is “as important to the story of our nation as any of our Founding Fathers.” Great grandson of a slave and son of sharecroppers, he did not abandon his faith even after being arrested at a Nashville lunch counter, being assaulted by violent mobs on the Freedom Rides, or nearly killed on the Pettus Bridge marching in Selma, AL. As a young reporter in 1992, Meacham asked Lewis what it was like to have traveled so far—wasn’t it harde John Lewis was a civil rights icon and a man of faith whose story is “as important to the story of our nation as any of our Founding Fathers.” Great grandson of a slave and son of sharecroppers, he did not abandon his faith even after being arrested at a Nashville lunch counter, being assaulted by violent mobs on the Freedom Rides, or nearly killed on the Pettus Bridge marching in Selma, AL. As a young reporter in 1992, Meacham asked Lewis what it was like to have traveled so far—wasn’t it harder in some ways now? Lewis responded, “We marched for what the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. called the Beloved Community. He wanted to make love real, to give the gospel some legs — and he taught us that we have to use not only voices but there comes a time when you have to use your feet. And that march, the march for love, that march doesn’t end.” Lewis says in the afterword that “the journey begins with faith –faith in the dignity and worth of every human being.” And Lewis’ story, Meacham writes, "is a testament to the unambiguous belief that justice can be served in a fallen world." Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to review an advance copy of this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    When John R. Lewis died recently, part of America’s conscience passed with him. With all the turbulence, chaos, lies, and antipathy toward race that is endemic to the Trump administration it makes every day difficult. A case in point was yesterday in Kenosha, WI when Trump refused to acknowledge the shooting of Jacob Blake by police and his subsequent paralysis or his support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the seventeen year old AR-15 carrying killer of two men. For me this has led to despair as I do not When John R. Lewis died recently, part of America’s conscience passed with him. With all the turbulence, chaos, lies, and antipathy toward race that is endemic to the Trump administration it makes every day difficult. A case in point was yesterday in Kenosha, WI when Trump refused to acknowledge the shooting of Jacob Blake by police and his subsequent paralysis or his support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the seventeen year old AR-15 carrying killer of two men. For me this has led to despair as I do not see a way out of America’s current condition with a “serial igniter” when it comes to race. Trump and his acolytes blame everyone but their own policies and rhetoric for where we are as a country, and one can only imagine what will become of our racial divide should he be reelected. Watching and listening to the outpouring of respect for Lewis by the American people because of his message of non-violence and hope for the next generation was always reassuring, but now he is gone. However, the texture of his life’s work is on full display in Jon Meacham’s latest work, HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON: JOHN LEWIS AND THE POWER OF HOPE. Mecham’s latest is not a full scale biography like his previous subjects, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and George H.W. Bush, but a more nuanced rendering of the development of Lewis’ personal theology and his contribution to the American Civil Rights Movement dating to the 1950s. Mecham’s new book is somewhat a sequel to his wonderful book THE SOUL OF AMERICA: THE BATTLE FOR A BETTER ANGELS where he expresses an optimism for America’s future that I believe has been shattered by events in Portland, Kenosha, and the rise of the alt-right white supremacist movement in this country. We are bombarded each day by bifurcated politics and have lost the leadership of a great man. In true Meacham fashion his newest narrative history relies on extensive research and the application of incisive analysis as the keystone to his examination of Lewis’ life work. Mecham points out his goal was to present an appreciative account of the major moments of Lewis’ life in the Civil Rights Movement, “of the theological understanding he brought to the struggle and the utility of that vision as America enters the third decade of the twenty-first century amid division and fear.” Mecham’s opening chapter entitled “Overture” returns the dying Lewis suffering from pancreatic cancer to Selma, AL last March to celebrate the events of fifty-five years ago at the Edmund Pettis Bridge where he was almost beaten to death by a white mob supported by police which frames the stage for his remarkable life’s work and accomplishments, but also his optimism and love in the face of hatred. For Lewis growing up in the segregated world of Troy, AL the church become his comfort and restorative zone and from an incredibly young age he fashioned himself as a preacher. He possessed a great imagination and quickening faith from biblical themes of resurrection, of exile, and deliverance shaped and suffused Lewis’ life from its earliest days. Even as a boy he would preach to his “congregation of chickens” located in his “chicken coop”who he would minister to each day. He would experience the vividness of the Jim Crow order and its segregation realizing how evil it was from an early age. Once he was exposed to an integrated society at his Uncle’s home in Buffalo, he realized how difficult it was to reconcile the teachings of Jesus and segregation. The watershed moment(s) of his life was his exposure and later meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King. For the first time King’s words introduced a vision of “non-violence, religiously inspired protest, to a way of seeing the world in terms of bringing the temporal in tune with the timeless.” Lewis was not concerned with the streets of heaven, but the streets of Montgomery and the way black and poor people were treated. There were a number of individuals who influenced Lewis’ intellectual development. Apart from Dr. King, the “social gospel” concepts of Walter Rauschenbusch, the strategy of non-violence of Reverend James M. Lawson, along with the murder of Emmett Till, and the work of Rosa Parks all impacted him greatly. Mecham does a workman like job weaving Lewis’ upbringing and later life within the context of American history. His intellectual and emotional development applied to upheavals in America are clearly explored and provides a roadmap into what Lewis thought and what type of man he would become. Lewis saw integration as a key step forward toward bringing the world into a closer tune with the gospel. Meacham allows the reader to accompany Lewis on his life’s journey including experiencing the approach of peaceful protest met by violence, arrest and imprisonment in Nashville, TN, Oak Hill, SC, Jackson, MS, and Birmingham and Montgomery, AL. in the mid to late 1950s. Along the way we meet the Reverend Ralph Abernathy of Birmingham’s First Baptist church, James farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Medgar Evers, Field Secretary for the NAACP before his murder by Klansmen in Jackson, Diane Nash, a key organizer of sit-ins and Freedom Rides, and of course the likes of Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Conner, George Corley Wallace, and John Patterson. There were also those that did not go along with Lewis’ “Beloved Community.” Men like Stokely Carmichael who believed that systemic racism would not be defeated by non-violence – he favored radical action after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights bill that led to Lewis’ removal as Chair of the SNCC; and Malcom X who favored a more militant approach and denigrated some of Lewis’ ideas, though later on they came much closer to each other’s ideals. Meacham presents a balanced approach integrating theology, socio-economics, and political components that Lewis brought to the Civil Rights Movement providing insights into what made Lewis tick and made him such a social and political force of nature. 1963 would be a watershed for Lewis’ development and the Civil Rights Movement. Meacham provides intricate details of events surrounding protests in Birmingham and Jackson culminating in the March on Washington on August 28th of that year where Lewis at age twenty-one was the youngest speaker. At the age of twenty-three after his participation in the Freedom Rides and a stint at Parchman Farm, the notorious Mississippi prison, Lewis was elected Chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). SNCC led the growing militancy of the Civil Rights Movement provoking violent resistance against their cause that pushed a reluctant federal government to embrace the cause of Black rights. By 1965, the Johnson administration gained the passage of legislation prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations and voting destroying the legal foundations of Jim Crow. 1965 was also the year that Lewis suffered a fractured skull at the hands of the Alabama State Police at the Edmund Pettis Bridge as they marched for voting rights in Selma, AL, an event known as Bloody Sunday. SNCC leadership would pass from Lewis to Stokely Carmichael in 1966 whose Black Power slogan was the antithesis of Lewis’ vision of a nationwide integrated community. But the SNCC would flounder due to FBI harassment and internal disagreements and passed from the scene by the late 1960s. By 1968 Lewis would join Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign and after Kennedy’s assassination he would go on to be elected to Congress where he would serve for more than thirty years. Much of Meacham’s work relies heavily on Lewis’ memoir, WALKING IN THE WIND and as the author points out he did not set out to write a full scale biography. Meacham reminds readers that if they wanted a full scale biography they must wait until Rutgers historian David Greenberg completes his own work. But in the interim, Meacham’s work should hold the fort for those with an interest in a remarkable man.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Based on this book Lewis was a man of Faith who put love into action without any violence though he was dealt violence and hate. I imagine as he crossed from this life to the next he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23 I do believe he was faithful over a GREAT deal and he carried it out with humility and self sacrifice for others. What a legacy he left behind. Choose love, Based on this book Lewis was a man of Faith who put love into action without any violence though he was dealt violence and hate. I imagine as he crossed from this life to the next he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23 I do believe he was faithful over a GREAT deal and he carried it out with humility and self sacrifice for others. What a legacy he left behind. Choose love, choose kindness and add this book to the must read list.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: An account of the life of Congressman John Lewis, focusing on the years of his leadership in the civil rights movement and the faith, hope, commitment to non-violence and the Beloved Community that sustained him. We lost a hero this summer in the death of Congressman John Lewis. We may remember the last photos of him, days before his death on Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, one more expression of the arc of a life spent in the hope that the nation would recognize the gift tha Summary: An account of the life of Congressman John Lewis, focusing on the years of his leadership in the civil rights movement and the faith, hope, commitment to non-violence and the Beloved Community that sustained him. We lost a hero this summer in the death of Congressman John Lewis. We may remember the last photos of him, days before his death on Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, one more expression of the arc of a life spent in the hope that the nation would recognize the gift that his people are and that one day, his hope of Dr. King’s Beloved Community would be realized. We might also remember the image of him being clubbed to the ground on the approaches to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, a day he nearly lost his life. There is so much that came before, and between these images. In this new work, historian Jon Meacham offers a historical account coupled with Lewis’s recollections, that helps us understand not only the heroic work of this civil rights icon, but the wellsprings of motivation that spurred his long march. Meacham begins with his ancestry, great-grandchild of a slave, child of sharecroppers in Troy, Alabama, growing up deep in the Jim Crow South in segregated schools, where a look, an inappropriate word might cost one’s life if you were black. Lewis was a child of the black church who knew he wanted to be a preacher, and practiced on the chickens on his parents farm. His faith, and early uneasiness with the inequities that did not measure up to the American dream meant “that the Lord had to be concerned with the ways we lived our lives right here on earth, that everything we did, or didn’t do in our lives had to be more than just a means of making our way to heaven.” Then he heard the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio and heard someone who gave voice to his growing calling and conviction., leading to pursuing seminary studies at the American Baptist Seminary in Nashville. Meacham accounts how this led to sit-ins at restaurants, the Freedom Rides, the Children’s Crusade and the March on Washington, where he gave one of the most impassioned speeches as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), refusing to back away from criticism of the Kennedy administration. Meacham describes the death of Kennedy, the civil rights leadership of Johnson, and Lewis’s growing exile from SNCC, from those like Stokely Carmichael who had tired of the slow progress of non-violent protest, that left him to go to Selma alone rather than with the SNCC. Again and again his principles led him to get into “good trouble.” Through it all, including the deaths of King and Bobby Kennedy, he persisted, through multiple beatings and arrests. Much of this work chronicles his years in the civil rights movement, leaving the final chapter to summarize his years in Congress and legacy. What Meacham focuses on throughout are the theological convictions, rooted in Lewis’s belief in the Spirit of History, his faith in a loving God, and his belief that America’s ideals would prevail over America’s failings. Second is a focus on Lewis’s bedrock conviction of pursuing non-violent resistance rooted in a belief of the dignity of all people in the image of God, even one’s enemies, developed from the Bible, Dr. King, James Lawson and the Highlander Workshops, and the principles of Gandhi. The narrative is one of how Lewis “walked the talk” bearing numerous beatings without retaliation, sacrificing his leadership for his principles. Finally, Lewis lived toward a vision of America as Dr. King’s “Beloved Community.” From marches and activism to his years in politics, Meacham shows how he strove for the peace with justice that would overcome divisions between black and white. Meacham gives John Lewis the last word in his afterword: We won the battles of the 1960’s. But the war for justice, the war to make America both great and good, goes on. We the People are not a united people right now. We rarely are, but our divisions and our tribalism are especially acute. Many Americans have lost faith in the idea that what binds us together is more important than what separates us. Now as before, we have to choose, as Dr. King once put it, between community and chaos. John Lewis never lost faith that what binds us together matters most and never stopped pursuing community rather than chaos. Meacham’s book leaves us the question of what will we believe and pursue in the days ahead. How we answer that may be decisive not only for our lives but also for our country. ________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tom Mathews

    In the author's note at the end of this book, Jon Meacham aptly sums up this book.This is not a full-scale biography. It is, rather, an appreciative account of the major moments of Lewis’s life in the movement, of the theological understanding he brought to the struggle, and of the utility of that vision as America enters the third decade of the twenty-first century amid division and fear. This is an apt description of the book. Jon Lewis has written much about his life, from his autobiography, In the author's note at the end of this book, Jon Meacham aptly sums up this book.This is not a full-scale biography. It is, rather, an appreciative account of the major moments of Lewis’s life in the movement, of the theological understanding he brought to the struggle, and of the utility of that vision as America enters the third decade of the twenty-first century amid division and fear. This is an apt description of the book. Jon Lewis has written much about his life, from his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, to the Eisner Award winning trilogy of graphic novels, March, but Meacham brings his skill as a veteran journalist and former seminarian to give readers a sense of the spirit and unconditional love that drove Lewis to become the icon of non-violent resistance that shaped his career, from lunch-counter protester to congressional heavyweight. In these tumultuous times, it is imperative that we see that love and gentleness is still a powerful force. For this, Meacham is the ideal author, and Lewis is the perfect subject. My thanks to Lawyer and all the folks at the On the Southern Literary Trail group for giving me the opportunity to read and discuss this and many other fine books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anneke

    I just got invited to read and review this new book by Jon Meacham about John Lewis. Can't wait to dig in. I just got invited to read and review this new book by Jon Meacham about John Lewis. Can't wait to dig in.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    RTC - I need to deal with my book hangover first. And find some more Kleenex to mop up these tears.... I am not sure I can get through this review without crying again; I am not sure that people fully realize what we, as a nation, and BIPOC people especially, lost when John Lewis died. He was a nonviolent fighter up until the end and the loss of him is just so huge. And as I was reading this book, it was made so apparent to me over and over and over again what a huge voice for the Civil Rights Mo RTC - I need to deal with my book hangover first. And find some more Kleenex to mop up these tears.... I am not sure I can get through this review without crying again; I am not sure that people fully realize what we, as a nation, and BIPOC people especially, lost when John Lewis died. He was a nonviolent fighter up until the end and the loss of him is just so huge. And as I was reading this book, it was made so apparent to me over and over and over again what a huge voice for the Civil Rights Moments and Black Lives Matter he was and what his death means to those groups and to the people [BIPOC] involved. As Mr. Meacham states, this is not a definitive biography of John Lewis' life. I think that would take a book much larger than this. Because, even though he was a quiet and nonviolent man, his voice and life was large. But this IS an excellent biography of John Lewis' time and life in the Civil Rights Movement, and all he faced and dealt with and persevered from. Some of these stories will make you sick. Some will bring you joy. Some will make you sadder than you ever thought you could be. And they are ALL stories that you will never forget and will quite possibly will change your life forever. I know I will never be the same. This was so well done and in my opinion, should be required reading. I will be shoving this at everyone I know so they too can read about this lovely quiet man who helped change America. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group/Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather Matson

    I love biographies and this book is no exception. It's the first I've read by Jon Meacham and I'll be sure to add more of his books to my reading list. I really appreciated the focus of "His Truth is Marching On" on a very specific time in John Lewis' life. The power of hope was critical in the 1960s, and while many victories have been accomplished, there is so much further to go and the need for hope remains today. I don't consider myself an especially religious person, but I have to admit that I love biographies and this book is no exception. It's the first I've read by Jon Meacham and I'll be sure to add more of his books to my reading list. I really appreciated the focus of "His Truth is Marching On" on a very specific time in John Lewis' life. The power of hope was critical in the 1960s, and while many victories have been accomplished, there is so much further to go and the need for hope remains today. I don't consider myself an especially religious person, but I have to admit that gaining a greater understanding of Lewis and his commitment to the Movement and the Beloved Community through his faith really made the book special. As a former elected official, the discussion of the 1964 presidential nominating convention really resonated with me. Lewis talks about how he believed it was the turning point of the civil rights movement. "Until then, despite every setback and disappointment and obstacle we had faced over the years, the belief still prevailed that the system would work, the system would listen, the system would respond. Now, for the first time, we had made our way to the center of the very system. We had played by the rules, done everything we were supposed to do, had played the game exactly as required, had arrived at the doorstep and found the door slammed in our face." His description of the moment made me think, yet again, about the ways in which we need to keep pushing to make the system more fair and more just.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda Rae

    John Lewis is a civil rights icon. This book focuses on his struggles and triumphs in the 1950's and 1960s. It's a story and a journey that everyone should know about and find a way to incorporate in their lives. Was he a living saint? No, but he was an incredible human being who sought change through nonviolence and love. Think about it. John Lewis is a civil rights icon. This book focuses on his struggles and triumphs in the 1950's and 1960s. It's a story and a journey that everyone should know about and find a way to incorporate in their lives. Was he a living saint? No, but he was an incredible human being who sought change through nonviolence and love. Think about it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Sciuto

    Jon Meacham is a wonderful historian and his biography on President George H.W. Bush was one of my favorite biographies I read over the last five years. His new book, "His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and The Power of Hope," is a powerful and enthralling piece of work that concentrates on the life of Mr. Lewis from about 1954 to 1968 with an afterword by John Lewis (which I read over a number of times it was so moving) that he wrote shortly before his death just a few months ago. My definition Jon Meacham is a wonderful historian and his biography on President George H.W. Bush was one of my favorite biographies I read over the last five years. His new book, "His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and The Power of Hope," is a powerful and enthralling piece of work that concentrates on the life of Mr. Lewis from about 1954 to 1968 with an afterword by John Lewis (which I read over a number of times it was so moving) that he wrote shortly before his death just a few months ago. My definition of a hero is a person who stands up for what is right, takes a bullet for a friend or an innocent civilian, when he/she could have just as easily walked away. John Lewis meets my definition of a hero, not just once, but so many times that I lost count. He believed in the gospel of non-violent protest that Dr. Martin Luther King preached. They were friends and he would grieve when Dr. King was assassinated, and when Robert F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, President Kennedy, and so many others who died in some measure because they believed in the simple statement, "That all men are created equal." That blacks should be able to sit at a lunch counter and be served, that blacks should be allowed to vote without worrying about getting their heads beat in, that segregation in the schools, transportation, and housing was wrong, dead wrong. That the "Jim Crow Laws" were disgraceful, insulting, and an injustice that was allowed to survive over a hundred years since the end of the Civil War. John Lewis is a Civil Rights icon and deserving so. His body is a testament to his belief in non-violence and justice for all. He was beat up so badly so many times that it is a miracle that he wasn't among the dead heroes mentioned above. Inside the very movement he led, he was occasionally criticized for being too nice, but he never gave in to the splinter groups that said it's time to fight back with force. He was steadfast in his beliefs and in the end he was victorious, even if that victory is still not complete. People will argue that America is not the prejudice society it once was, that we have had a black President and I am quick to remind them that blacks were among the first race of people to come to America over 350 years ago. If allowed the freedom that other settlers had, there probably would of been many black Presidents. The America I see today still has a long way to go, and Dr. King's 'dream' still has not been realized, and sadly it seems that we have taken a number of steps backwards in the fight for racial justice.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Malu Malhotra

    A truly incredible narrative of John Lewis’s life and a snapshot into life in America in the 1960s. Finishing this has left me at a loss for words. I cannot recommend it enough.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    John Lewis was a very young man when he became involved with the Civil Rights movement. He was severely harmed during this time and had more than one head injury. He wasn't a saint but he was always decent in spite of the way he'd been impacted personally and as witness to the horrors of the Jim Crow south. When 3 voting rights volunteers were murdered in Mississippi, he was part of the search party and before they were found the searchers uncovered many other bodies that had been killed by the John Lewis was a very young man when he became involved with the Civil Rights movement. He was severely harmed during this time and had more than one head injury. He wasn't a saint but he was always decent in spite of the way he'd been impacted personally and as witness to the horrors of the Jim Crow south. When 3 voting rights volunteers were murdered in Mississippi, he was part of the search party and before they were found the searchers uncovered many other bodies that had been killed by the Klan. The 1963 March on Washington left people mesmerized by the I Have a Dream speech but Harry Belafonte has said if Martin delivered the Sermon on the Mount then John delivered The Gettysburg Address. John Lewis, of course had a long career as a Conggressman, and brought his faith in God and justice to bear his spirit of courage. Jon Meacham has written a beautiful testament to the man.

  30. 5 out of 5

    SeanMcAneny

    Not normally a book I'd pick up off a shelf, but my aunt gave it to me as a grad present. I'm not a spiritual person, but I admire how Lewis used his faith as a bedrock for developing his nonviolent philosophy. Really interesting to read a bunch of different voices from Malcom X to Stokely Carmichael to Martin Luther King on the differences between plain pacifism and Lewis's own brand of nonviolent protest. Not normally a book I'd pick up off a shelf, but my aunt gave it to me as a grad present. I'm not a spiritual person, but I admire how Lewis used his faith as a bedrock for developing his nonviolent philosophy. Really interesting to read a bunch of different voices from Malcom X to Stokely Carmichael to Martin Luther King on the differences between plain pacifism and Lewis's own brand of nonviolent protest.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.