“Happy Birthday America!” New Reads on Revolutionary History

While parades, BBQs, and fireworks are always on the menu as we gather to celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th, days around Independence Day can also be a prime time to delve into the rich history of the people and places that make this nation special.

As patriotic fervor surrounds you and you get hungry to learn more about the earliest days of our country — check out one or more of these newer nonfiction titles that shed some new light on American revolutionary history and about the war for independent America.

American Rebels : How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned The Flames of Revolution by Nina Sankovitch.

Explores, for the first time, the intertwined lives of the Hancock, Quincy, and Adams families, and the role each person played in sparking the American Revolution.

The Compleat Victory : Saratoga and The American Revolution by Kevin J. Weddle

A comprehensive study of the Saratoga Campaign of 1777. The Battle of Saratoga, which took place over three weeks, was really a series of two large battles and many smaller engagements along the Hudson River north of Albany, New York. As Weddle, a former Army officer who teaches at the Army War College, shows, the outcome was a stinging defeat for the British, whose commander, John Burgoyne, had not long before humiliated the American defenders of Fort Ticonderoga. 

The Founding Fortunes : How The Wealthy Paid For and Profited From America’s Revolution by Tom Shachtman

Shachtman offers an in-depth look at a time when money became as vital as guns in securing victory on the Revolutionary War’s battlefields, and how some of America’s wealthiest men risked their fortunes to aid the new country even as they reaped benefits from its independence.

Franklin & Washington : The Founding Partnership by Edward J. Larson

Vastly different men, Benjamin Franklin– an abolitionist freethinker from the urban north– and George Washington–a slaveholding general from the agrarian south– were the indispensable authors of American independence and the two key partners in the attempt to craft a more perfect union at the Constitutional Convention. Their teamwork has been little remarked upon in the centuries since, but Larson illuminates Franklin and Washington’s relationship.

George Washington : The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father by David O. Stewart

A fascinating and illuminating account of how George Washington became the single most dominant force in the creation of the United States of America.

The Indispensables : The Diverse Soldier-Mariners Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware by Patrick K. O’Donnell

Tells the history of the Marblehead Regiment, led by John Glover, which fought at Lexington; on Bunker Hill, formed the Guard that protected George Washington; and conveyed Washington’s men across the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776.

The Patriots : Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Making of America by Winston Groom

 Drawing on extensive correspondence, epic tales of war, and rich histories of their day-to-day interactions, Winston Groom shares the remarkable story of the beginnings of our great nation and the significant roles played by the Three key Founding Fathers.

1774 : The Long Year of Revolution by Mary Beth Norton

Presents information on the American Revolution and the revolutionary change that took place from December 1773 to mid-April 1775, including the Boston Tea Party and the first Continental Congress to the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

The 10 Key Campaigns Of the American Revolution edited by Edward G. Lengel

Bringing together ten eminent Revolutionary War experts, editor Lengel presents their stirring narratives of the military campaigns that changed history and gave birth to a new nation.

Thirteen Clocks : How Race United the Colonies and Made the Declaration of Independence by Robert G. Parkinson

In his celebrated account of the origins of American unity, John Adams described July 1776 as the moment when thirteen clocks managed to strike at the same time. So how did these American colonies overcome long odds to create a durable union capable of declaring independence from Britain? In this powerful new history of the fifteen tense months that culminated in the Declaration of Independence,. Parkinson provides a troubling answer: racial fear. Parkinson argues that patriot leaders used racial prejudices to persuade Americans to declare independence.

Valcour : the 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty by Jack Kelly

The wild and suspenseful story of one of the most crucial and least known campaigns of the Revolutionary War when America’s scrappy navy took on the full might of Britain’s sea power.

Winning Independence : The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781 by John Ferling

A masterly history of the lesser-known second half of the Revolutionary War. Ferling reminds readers that American patriots, ecstatic after the 1777 victory at Saratoga, were not expecting the fighting to continue for nearly twice as long as before. He argues that American victory at Saratoga and Yorktown was far from guaranteed—chance, along with military strategy, played a significant role in the founding of the U.S. 

Happy Independence Day!

Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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