Jon Meacham

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Presidential Historian & Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

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Jon Meacham: Biography at a Glance

  • Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham is one of America's most prominent public intellectuals.
  • A skilled orator with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs, Meacham has the unique ability to bring history to life and offer historical context to current events and issues impacting our daily lives.
  • A contributor to TIME and the New York Times Book Review, Meacham is a highly sought-after commentator, regularly appearing on MSNBC, CNN, and other news outlets.
  • Meacham is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers including, Songs of America and The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
  • Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the Society of American Historians.
  • Meacham is a frequent guest on Morning JoeReal Time with Bill MaherThe 11th Hour, and was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.
  • His latest book, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Experiment, will be published in the fall of 2022.

Videos

Biography

Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham is one of America's most prominent public intellectuals. A contributor to TIME and The New York Times Book Review, Meacham is a highly sought-after commentator, regularly appearing on MSNBC, CNN, and other news outlets. A skilled orator with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs, Meacham has the unique ability to bring history to life and offer historical context to current events and issues impacting our daily lives - whether we realize it or not - to audiences of all backgrounds and levels of understanding. His latest book, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Experiment, will be published in the fall of 2022.

A contributing editor at TIME, Meacham also writes “The Long View” column in The New York Times Book Review in which he “looks back at books that speak to our current historical and cultural moment.” He served as Newsweek's managing editor from 1998 to 2006 and as editor from 2006 to 2010.

Meacham released two podcasts with the History Channel: Hope Through History and It Was Said. Narrated and written by Meacham, the critically acclaimed Hope Through History podcast explores some of the most historic and trying times in American History, how the nation dealt with the impact of these moments, and how we came through these moments a more unified nation. It Was Said tells the stories of those crucial words, taking listeners back to inflection points ranging from the McCarthy era to our present time through the real-time rhetoric that shaped and suffused America as the country struggled through storms and strife. It Was Said captures the nation we've been, and points ahead to the nation we hope to become.

Meacham is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers including, Songs of America, which is a celebration of the music that helped shape a nation. Co-written by musician Tim McGraw, Songs of America was praised as “a glorious celebration of our diversity” by Quincy Jones and an “unusually well-written and moving story” by Ken Burns. Another #1 New York Times bestseller, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, examines the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in U.S. history when hope overcame division and fear. He released, His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope - an intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis and quickly gained bestseller status.

Meacham's Presidential biography of George H. W. Bush, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. According to the Times, “Destiny and Power reflect the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it.” He is a co-author of Impeachment: An American History, which reveals the complicated motives behind the three impeachments in U.S. history. A #1 New York Times bestseller, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power was hailed as "masterful and intimate" by Fortune magazine. Meacham's other national bestsellers include Franklin and Winston, American Gospel, and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

Meacham is a frequent guest on Morning Joe; Real Time with Bill Maher; The 11th Hour, and was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. Fox News produced an hour-long special about Meacham’s Destiny and Power.

Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the Society of American Historians. Meacham is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University where he holds the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency.

Topics

Hope Through History: How To Endure and Prevail When Everything Appears Hopelessarrow-down

As difficult as the present is, the American past is the story of challenges overcome, crises resolved, and progress made. In this nonpartisan speech, Jon Meacham walks audiences through moments that have seemed intractable – which can include the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, the battle against polio, FDR’s reaction to the first days of the Depression, Winston Churchill’s decision to fight on against Hitler, and the Cuban Missile Crisis – to offer lessons for leaders in how to endure and prevail when everything appears hopeless.

The Art of Leadership: Lessons From the American Presidencyarrow-down

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham explores what 21st-century leaders in different fields of endeavor can learn from the greatest moments of our common past.

This non-partisan presentation features lessons ranging from Jefferson's pragmatism and JFK's capacity to recover from his own mistakes to the management of conflicting egos as shown by Reagan and FDR and how George HW Bush dealt with the end of his Presidency. Meacham discusses how history can inform the decisions all of us make every day in positions that demand creative and innovative solutions.

Songs of America: History, Music, and the Story of a Nationarrow-down

This is an illuminating and entertaining presentation of music and history, presented by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jon Meacham. With a multimedia presentation of images and iconic selections from great American songs, Meacham offers a glimpse of the American past and a message for the present: that America has always been defined by strife and discord, yet has managed to move forward.

“The Battle-Hymn of the Republic” vs. “I Wish I Was in Dixie’s Land”; “Happy Days Are Here Again” vs. “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”; “The Ballad of the Green Berets” vs. “Blowin in the Wind”; “Born in the U.S.A.” vs. “God Bless the USA”—the whole panoply of America can be traced—and more importantly, heard and felt—in the songs that echo through our public squares. This is engaging history that speaks to the moment and beyond.

The Soul of Americaarrow-down

In this nonpartisan, anecdotally rich presentation, Meacham describes previous moments of crisis and partisan deadlock in American history and suggests how previous generations — and we, in our own time — transcended hours of fear by heeding what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” Examples range from Reconstruction and President Grant to woman’s suffrage and President Wilson to the crisis of the 1930s and FDR and the passage of civil rights legislation under LBJ.

The Media’s Secret Bias: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Truth About the Newsarrow-down

For some people, the key to understanding the media is ideology–that outlets are driven by politics rather than objectivity. There is much truth to this, and the 21st century is now more like the 18th and 19th in terms of partisan news. But there’s an even more fundamental point Americans should grasp: that many journalists are driven as much by conflict as by creeds. Jon Meacham brings renewed perspective to the issue of media bias, grounded in historical analysis and his own life’s work with print and television news media outlets. Meacham cuts to the core of media bias, explaining how politics and human nature shape the news you see and read.

The Future of the Past: How To Think About Race and Memory in the 21st Centuryarrow-down

In this contentious moment of debate about Confederate memorials and the place of history in an increasingly diverse nation, Jon Meacham describes – in reasonable, non-partisan, non-ideological terms – the long story of race in America and offers audiences new ways to assess what role emblems of the past should play in an increasingly diverse 21st century.

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