UK Happenings

Bale Boone Symposium Brings Jon Meacham to Lexington

photo of Jon Meacham in front of bookcase
Jon Meacham

Presidential historian Jon Meacham talks with "MetroFocus" about what led him to write his most recent book, "The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels."


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2018) The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities and Kentucky Humanities announce this year’s Bale Boone Symposium: “An Evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham.” This event is free and open to the public and will begin 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, in the Worsham Cinema at the UK Gatton Student Center. A reception and book signing will follow the presentation.

Jon Meacham is a renowned biographer, presidential historian, and author of several New York Times best-sellers including “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power”; “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House”; and “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.” Meacham is also a contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review, contributing editor at Time magazine, and a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University.

As a capstone to Kentucky Humanities’ statewide literacy initiative Kentucky Reads: “All the King’s Men,” Meacham will be speaking on the relevance of Robert Penn Warren’s work, from politics to race to regional culture and Warren’s impact on literature and American culture.

Meacham’s latest book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels” (Random House), will be available for purchase at the event.

“Politics is one of the nation’s hot topics of conversation, regardless of who’s in office. In recent years, with the rise of populist movements, the advent of ‘fake news,’ and debate on how the news and social media influence voters, there is renewed interest in the themes that Warren explored in ‘All the King’s Men,’” said Bill Goodman, executive director of Kentucky Humanities. “Jon Meacham will help us understand the present moment in America.”

“It is exciting that we are bringing such a renowned author and Pulitzer Prize winner to Lexington as part of the Bale Boone Symposium,” said Joan Gaines, founder of the Gaines Center for the Humanities.

Through the Bale Boone Symposium, the Gaines Center promotes dialogue, intellectual exploration, and partnerships among campus, Bluegrass, and Commonwealth communities by sponsoring an array of public humanities and arts events. These events are a testament to the influence and memory of Joy Bale Boone and George Street Boone, who were committed to the betterment of the humanities.

A complete schedule of Kentucky Reads events can be found at

Kentucky Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is supported by the National Endowment and private contributions. For information about Kentucky Humanities’ programs and services, visit

Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK’s campus. The Gaines Center is designed to enrich the study of the humanities as an intellectual activity and as a means to self-betterment. The center offers courses and sponsors activities that appeal to faculty and students in all disciplinary fields.