The American Bible

How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation

Bestselling author Stephen Prothero addresses the question of "Whose America is this," by exploring American political discourse and the significant texts that make up the living history of the American people.

American politics is broken because we have forgotten how to talk with one another. Instead of arguing on behalf of our nation, we argue on behalf of our party.

The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation reacquaints us with the oft-quoted (and misquoted) speeches, songs, and sayings that animate our politics, inspire social action, and drive our debates about who is—and is not—a real American. It reconnects us with a surprising tradition of civility that manages to be both critical of Americans' shortcomings and hopeful for positive change.

To explore these "scriptures" is to revisit what Americans have said about liberty and equality and to revitalize our ongoing conversation about the future of the American experiment.

American Bible

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Praise for The American Bible

“In these pages Stephen Prothero has brilliantly captured the American spirit-a spirit that has always seen us through hours of division and disagreement. With Prothero’s expert analysis, these texts should spark civil conversation, informed debate, and intelligent discussion.”
—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion.

“Required for putting in one place so many historic pieces that are more opined over than actually read. Awesome scholarship to an admirable purpose.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In The American Bible, Prothero has turned his considerable talents to assembling a version of the American canon. The author’s prose is, as usual, spritely, informed and incisive.”
Washington Post

The American Bible is a provocative, brilliantly realized illumination of American values by means of excerpted historical documents.”
Colloquy, Harvard University

“There are certain speeches, songs, books, letters, laws, and axioms that Americans honor enough to argue about, says religion scholar Stephen Prothero. Like the Declaration of Independence, this almost consecrated canon inspires endless commentary about what it means to be American-and what ‘America’ means.”
—Religion News Service

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