NONFICTION BOOKS Relating to the Revolutionary War

Adams, Abigail and John Adams. My Dearest Friend: The Letters of Abigail and John Adams. Edited by Margaret A. Hogan and C. James Taylor. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.   Includes Abigail’s account of hearing the Battle of Bunker Hill from her home in Braintree.


Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Belknap Press, 1967. 

Beck, Glenn. Being George Washington: The Indispensable Man, as You've Never Seen Him. Threshold Editions/Mercury Radio Arts, 2011. Combining biography and Washington's own writings with his own comments and sidebars, Beck explores our nation's first president and describes how Washington's beliefs and values are especially important to remember today. 


Chernow, Ron. Washington: A Life. In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the 2011 American History Book Prize.


Ellis, Joseph J. Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Pulitzer-winning American historian Joseph Ellis tells an old story in a new way, with a freshness at once colorful and compelling. 


Ferling, John E. Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution. Oxford University Press, 2000. George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson - braiding three strands into one rich narrative, John Ferling brings these American icons down from their pedestals to show them as men of flesh and blood, and gives us a new understanding of the passion and uncertainty of the struggle to form a new nation.  


Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere's Ride. Oxford University Press, 1994. An exciting narrative that offers deep insight into the outbreak of revolution and the emergence of the American republic. 


Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words, the Life of the Inventor, Philosopher, Satirist, Political Theorist, Statesman, and Diplomat. ReadaClassic, 2010.


Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon & Schuster, c2003.


Jasanoff, Maya. Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World.  Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Facing grave doubts about their futures, some sixty thousand loyalists—one in forty members of the American population—decided to leave their homes and become refugees elsewhere in the British Empire. A groundbreaking history of the revolutionary era,Liberty’s Exilestells the story of this remarkable global diaspora.  


Kilmeade, Brian and Don Yaeger. George Washington’s Secret Six:  the Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution. Sentinel, 2013.  When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied--thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring.


Lepore, Jill. Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin. Knopf, 2013.  A revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin's youngest sister and a history of history itself. 



McCullough, David G. 1776. Simon & Schuster, 2006, c2005. Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King's men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.


McCullough, David G. 1776: Excerpts from the Acclaimed History, with Letters, Maps, and Seminal Artwork. Simon & Schuster, c2007.


Philbrick, Nathaniel. Bunker Hill:  A City, a Siege, a Revolution. Viking, c2013. Recounts the events of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution, tracing the experiences of Patriot leader Dr. Joseph Warren, a newly recruited George Washington, and British General William Howe.


Phillips, Kevin. 1775: A Good Year for Revolution. Viking, 2012. Kevin Phillips suggests that the great events and confrontations of 1775--Congress's belligerent economic ultimatums to Britain, New England's 'rage militaire,' the exodus of British troops and expulsion of royal governors up and down the seaboard, and the new provincial congresses and hundreds of local committees that quickly reconstituted local authority in Patriot hands--achieved a sweeping Patriot control of territory and local government that Britain was never able to overcome.


Rae, Noel (Noel Martin Douglas). The People's War: Original Voices of the American Revolution. Lyons Press, 2012. This is the story of one of history's great events, the American Revolutionary War, told almost entirely in the words of the soldiers who fought it and the civilians who endured it.


Rakove, Jack N. Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2010. Historian Jack Rakove shows how the private lives of these men were suddenly transformed into public careers—how Washington became a strategist, Franklin a pioneering cultural diplomat, Madison a sophisticated constitutional thinker, and Hamilton a brilliant policymaker.  


Randall, Willard Sterne.  Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor.  Morrow, c1990.  V Although the Arnolds command center stage, the narrative offers tantalizing glimpses of George Washington, John Adams, Horatio Gates, and other prominent political and military leaders. This biography deserves serious study from those interested in understanding the perilous struggles that gave birth to the nation.


Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution. A.A. Knopf, 1992. In a grand and immensely readable synthesis of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis, a prize-winning historian depicts much more than a break with England. He gives readers a revolution that transformed an almost feudal society into a democratic one


February 2014