New Books Network

Thomas B. Reston

Soul of a Democrat

The Seven Core Ideals That Made Our Party and Our Country Great

All Points Books 2018

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 18, 2018 Bill Scher

Democrats need to stop their “monomania” over Donald Trump and reconnect with their party’s core ideals to reclaim political power, argues Thomas B. Reston...

Democrats need to stop their “monomania” over Donald Trump and reconnect with their party’s core ideals to reclaim political power, argues Thomas B. Reston in his book Soul of a Democrat: The Seven Core Ideals That Made Our Party and Our Country Great (All Points Books, 2018). He explores those ideals by analyzing the legacies of historically consequential Democratic presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. He also assesses the importance of presidential runner-up and legendary populist William Jennings Bryan. Reston reminds Democrats their party was founded on fighting for the “Common Man,” and that remains integral to the party’s “soul.” At the same time, Reston contends, the party’s populist energy should be balanced with a respect for policy expertise, pointing to Woodrow Wilson as an example of how one can reconcile inherent and inevitable contradictions.


Bill Scher is a Contributing Editor for POLITICO Magazine. He has provided political commentary on CNN, NPR and MSNBC. He has been published in The New York Times, The New Republic, and The New York Daily News among other publications. He is author of Wait! Don’t Move to Canada, published by Rodale in 2006.