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 riveting nonfiction ebooks or audiobooks about the war for independent America.
Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore
Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American self-made man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one woman but an entire world—a world usually lost to history. Lepore’s life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is at once a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters: a life unknown.
George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger
When 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. He realized that he couldn’t defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. We get fascinating portraits of these spies: a reserved Quaker merchant, a tavern keeper, a brash young longshoreman, a curmudgeonly Long Island bachelor, a coffeehouse owner, and a mysterious woman.
In the concluding volume of his acclaimed American Revolution series, Philbrick tells the thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War. Recognized today as one of the most important naval engagements in the history of the world, the Battle of the Chesapeake—fought without a single American ship—made the subsequent victory of the Americans at Yorktown a virtual inevitability. This riveting and wide-ranging story, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.
Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence by Bill O’Reilly & Robert Petkoff | AUDIOBOOK
This book chronicles the path to independence in gripping detail, taking the listener from the battlefields of America to the royal courts of Europe. What started as protest and unrest in the colonies soon escalated to a world war with devastating casualties. O’Reilly and Dugard recreate the war’s landmark battles, including Bunker Hill, Long Island, Saratoga, and Yorktown, revealing the savagery of hand-to-hand combat and the often brutal conditions under which these brave American soldiers lived and fought.
The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin’s House by Daniel Mark Epstein
The dramatic story of a founding father, his illegitimate son, and the tragedy of their conflict during the American Revolution.
The riveting untold story of the fight for the Hudson River Valley, the decisive campaign of the Revolutionary War.
Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence by Joseph J. Ellis
The summer months of 1776 witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country’s founding. Ellis meticulously examines the most influential figures in this propitious moment, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Britain’s Admiral Lord Richard and General William Howe. He weaves together the political and military experiences as two sides of a single story, and shows how events on one front influenced outcomes on the other.
The monumental life of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers.
1774: The Long Year of Revolution by Mary Beth Norton
The first book to look at the critical “long year” of 1774 and the revolutionary change that took place from December 1773 to mid-April 1775, from the Boston Tea Party and the first Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
1776 by David McCullough
The stirring story of the year of our nation’s birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America’s survival in the hands of George Washington.
The Spirit of ’74: How the American Revolution Began by Ray Raphael & Marie Raphael
Americans know about the Boston Tea Party and “the shot heard ’round the world,” but sixteen months divided these two iconic events, a period that has nearly been lost to history. The Spirit of ’74 fills in this gap in our nation’s founding narrative, showing how in these mislaid months, step by step, real people made a revolution.
Willis traces every key military event in the path to American independence from a naval perspective, and he also brings this important viewpoint to bear on economic, political, and social developments that were fundamental to the success of the Revolution. This unique account of the American Revolution gives us a new understanding of the influence of sea power upon history, of the American path to independence, and of the rise and fall of the British Empire.
The War Before Independence: 1775-1776 by Derek W. Beck
This book transports readers into the violent years of 1775 and 1776, with the infamous Battle of Bunker Hill – a turning point in the Revolution – and the snowy, wind-swept march to the frozen ground at the Battle of Quebec, ending with the exciting conclusion of the Boston Campaign. Meticulous research and new material drawn from letters, diaries, and investigative research throws open the doors not only to familiar figures and faces, but also little-known triumphs and tribulations of America’s greatest military leaders, including George Washington.
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
A richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president.
Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America by Tony Williams & Stephen F. Knott
Chronicles the unlikely collaboration between these two conflicting characters at the heart of our national narrative: Washington, the indispensable general devoted to classical virtues, and Hamilton, an ambitious officer and lawyer eager for fame of the noblest kind.
Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It by John Ferling
Balancing social and political concerns of the period and perspectives of the average American revolutionary with a careful examination of the war itself, Ferling has crafted the ideal book for armchair military history buffs, a book about the causes of the American Revolution, the war that won it, and the meaning of the Revolution overall.
Hoopla Resources on the American Revolution
The 13 colonies stake everything on an armed struggle for freedom and the chance to build a new kind of nation. Beginning with the decision to declare independence, the film explores the escalating conflict with Great Britain, including the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. America’s founding fathers, such as George Washington, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson, with other well-known historical figures, including Abigail Adams and Tom Paine, all play roles in the fight for liberty.
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian