In this book, Don E. Eberly describes the role of civil society in the preservation of democratic values and institutions, and explains why the preservation of civil society must be a major priority over the next several decades. Our society, argues Eberly, cannot thrive and perhaps cannot survive, without strong social institutions, a vibrant moral order, and an active, intellectual, and grass roots dimension, and analyzes the concept of civil society in the context of both political theory and sociology. He then outlines ways in which the civil society debate reveals and responds to the more fundamental concern of moral collapse evident in America today.
If you want to know what civil society means, and why the concept is so important, by all means read this book. Wise, lucid and extremely informative, it is an indispensable guide to the civil society debate.
No one who cares about the future of America's civil institutions, no one who has a head and a heart for the plight of our most truly needy fellow citizens and young people, can afford to miss Don Eberly's masterful new book, America's Promise.
This is the most comprehensive book on the civic society to date. Nobody is clearer on this important issue than Eberly and few are his peers.
America's Promise lays out better than any book I have seen the essence of the contemporary problem of American community, beginning with the family and ending with the welfare state, and proposes some sensible and fair initiatives to reduce our social isolation .
Jean Bethke Elshtain
Eberly demonstrates decisively that what is at stake in the outcome of the civil society debate is not only our collective self-understanding but, indeed, our well-being as citizens.
America's Promise is jam-packed with generosity and wisdom—a valuable piece of work on what civil society is, why it matters and what we can do to renew our culture.
Glenn C. Loury
For a decade now, Don Eberly has been one of the leading figures in the effort to renew American culture. He is a thinker as well as a doer; a Christian who understand the need to engage the secular world. He is always worth a reading, and never more so than in America's Promise.
William A. Galston
While some may take issue with Eberly's conclusions and recommendations, America's Promise offers a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the contemporary civil society movement. Moving surefootedly through empirical research, history, philosophy, and religion, this book will be a valuable resource for leaders who want to understand the renewed interest in civil society among Americans across the political spectrum.
America's Promise offers a frightening, but on target diagnosis of the nation's moral meltdown. More importantly, Don Eberly outlines a way out that may be out best hope for the future.
Mitch B. Pearlstein
The most frustrating aspect of much of what is written about something called 'civil society' is that once its quite obvious virtues are asserted, little more of specific consequence tends to get said. Don Eberly fixes this problem be endowing the national conversation with abundant philosophical, spiritual and ground-level grist.
The Printed Page, May-June 99
- Peter Agustine Lawler
American Promise represents perhaps the best single introduction to the subject.
Don E. Eberly is the director of the Civil Society Project, a national initiative advancing ideas to strengthen America's social institutions and community life. He is the editor of many books, including The Content of America's Character: The Recovery of Civic Virtue. Eberly is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, and founder of the National Fatherhood Initiative. He lives in Lancaster, PA.
Chapter 1 Civil Society: A New Solution Chapter 2 The Movement Chapter 3 Social Institutions; Social Regression Chapter 4 Civil Society and the Welfare State; Community Building and Civic Engagement Chapter 5 Renewing the Public Realm: Public Space and Democratic Deliberation Chapter 6 Cultural Cleanup: Manners and Remoralization Chapter 7 Recovering Individual Character and Ethics Chapter 8 Toward a New Public Philosophy: Common Ground and the Common Good Chapter 9 Civitas Limited: The Limitations of Civil Society Chapter 10 The Fragility of Civil Society Chapter 11 Civil Society Plus: America's Civic and Transcendent Creeds Chapter 12 Toward Moral Realism and Republican Character Chapter 13 A Call to Civil Society: Why Democracy Needs Moral Truths