Wow! I know that's a mundane word for a book that combines philosophy and spirituality in such an eloquent flow, but, hey, that's been my constant response while reading this book, Jacob Needleman's "The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders". It is inspirational and filled with hope!
This is one of those books that, if it were within my power to do so, I would have as required reading for all Americans. Profoundly moving and deeply edifying, this book speaks to all that I have been pondering recently. Needleman says that:
"The hope of America lies and has consisted in the fact that its political ideals and forms of government, its iconic actions and archetypal heroes, reflect in two directions at once--toward the external good of a life of liberty and equality and the reasonable search for a normal life of community and creative aspiration; and at the same time inwardly toward the search for inner development, the life of conscience and reason that defines the true nature of humanity and gives life its ultimate meaning. … America needs to recover its mythic dimension. If not, if it begins to live only in its first history, only in the outer dimension, it will have lost all that really nourishes the life of a nation or an individual." [my bolding]
The author talks of "The American Virtues and Their Shadows" and of so much more that the scope often leaves me breathless!
I heard about Jacob Needleman via his interview by Krista Tippett at OnBeing. http://www.onbeing.org/program/inward-work-democracy-jacob-needleman/222