Alexandra Hudson, daughter of the “Manners Lady,” was raised to respect others. But as she grew up, Hudson discovered a difference between politeness—a superficial appearance of good manners—and true civility. In this timely book, Hudson sheds light on how civility can help bridge our political divide.
From classical philosophers like Epictetus, to great twentieth-century thinkers like Martin Luther King Jr., to her own experience working in the federal government during one of the most politically fraught eras in our nation’s history, Hudson examines how civility—a respect for the personhood and dignity of others—transcends political disagreements. Respecting someone means valuing them enough to tell them when you think they are wrong.
It’s easy to look at the divided state of the world and blame our leaders, the media, or our education system. Instead, we should focus on what we can control: ourselves. The Soul of Civility empowers readers to live tolerantly with others despite deep differences, and to rigorously protest wrongs and debate issues rather than silencing disagreements. A robust public discourse is essential to a truly civil society, and respecting others means telling hard truths. If enough of us decide to change ourselves, we might be able to change the world we live in, too.
Provocative, personal, and acutely relevant, The Soul of Civility is an essential book for our era.