10 books like 1776

By David McCullough,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like 1776. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Men Who Lost America

By Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy,

Book cover of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire

The vast majority of books on the Revolutionary War are written by Americans, and they predictably focus on the conflict from the Patriot side. But throughout the war, the strategic initiative rested with Britain, not the United States. Through a series of brilliant biographical chapters, O’Shaughnessy traces the history of the war and the evolution of British strategy, and its ultimate failure, from the imperial side.

The Men Who Lost America

By Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Men Who Lost America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they? This intriguing book makes a different argument. Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O'Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory. In interlinked biographical chapters, the author follows the course of the war from the perspectives of King George…


Washington's General

By Terry Golway,

Book cover of Washington's General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution

The Revolution was an affair of people. Golway does a masterful job of bringing to life one of the most important, and often most neglected, of the American officers. Nathanael Greene was the epitome of the amateur soldiers who led the patriot effort. He was the man Washington selected to take over the Continental Army if Washington himself was killed. The book offers important insights into logistics (Greene for a time served as Quartermaster General). It also illuminates the war in the South, where Greene confounded British plans and set the scene for the patriot victory at Yorktown.

Washington's General

By Terry Golway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Washington's General as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The overlooked Quaker from Rhode Island who won the American Revolution's crucial southern campaign and helped to set up the final victory of American independence at Yorktown

Nathanael Greene is a revolutionary hero who has been lost to history. Although places named in his honor dot city and country, few people know his quintessentially American story as a self-made, self-educated military genius who renounced his Quaker upbringing-horrifying his large family-to take up arms against the British. Untrained in military matters when he joined the Rhode Island militia in 1774, he quickly rose to become Washington's right-hand man and heir apparent.…


General George Washington

By Edward G. Lengel,

Book cover of General George Washington: A Military Life

Washington historian Edward G. Lengel's book focuses only on his life in the military. George Washington begins his military career at age 21 in 1753 with the colonial rank of Major. He was sent by the governor of Virginia to deliver a letter to the French commander of a fort that was on property contested by the King of England. Washington and a small party traveled the wilds of the Ohio Country, modern-day western Pennsylvania. In this epic journey, young Washington almost loses his life twice. Washington is later involved in the first skirmish of the French and Indian War. A great emphasis in the book is of course his time as General in the American Revolution.  

The final chapter is critical. Lengel rates Washington's abilities as a commander. Time and time again, British General Howe defeats him in battle with a surprise flank attack. But Washington always found a…

General George Washington

By Edward G. Lengel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked General George Washington as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The most comprehensive and authoritative study of Washington’s military career ever written.”
–Joseph J. Ellis, author of His Excellency: George Washington

Based largely on George Washington’s personal papers, this engrossing book paints a vivid, factual portrait of Washington the soldier. An expert in military history, Edward Lengel demonstrates that the “secret” to Washington’s excellence lay in his completeness, in how he united the military, political, and personal skills necessary to lead a nation in war and peace. Despite being an “imperfect commander”–and at times even a tactically suspect one–Washington nevertheless possessed the requisite combination of vision, integrity, talents, and good…


Founding Mothers

By Cokie Roberts,

Book cover of Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

I love reading about women from the past who asserted themselves in a world where there was little was expected from them besides obedience to the men in their lives. Founding Mothers is a story of influential women prior to and after the American Revolution, with many quotes from personal correspondence, from Abigail Adams to Martha Washington. Not only do we read of the activities in which they participated, including births and deaths of their own children, but the emotions that kept them company as well. Touching on the lives of those less renowned as well, Founding Mothers is a springboard for deeper research into the lives of women living in young America. 

Founding Mothers

By Cokie Roberts,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Founding Mothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts comes New York Times bestseller Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families—and their country—proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it.

While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts brings us…


The First American Army

By Bruce Chadwick,

Book cover of The First American Army: The Untold Story of George Washington and the Men Behind America's First Fight for Freedom

The new national Congress of the United States had to invent both a government and a military to defend it on the fly in 1776. Militias had been around for decades, encouraged and supported to varying degrees by colonial, later state, governments. Before and after the creation of a regular “Continental” army, militia units were chartered by the thirteen states. The soon-to-be self-declared fourteenth state of Vermont also had militia regiments, and these also played important roles at Saratoga.

Some members of Congress thought that the creation of a regular army was dangerous and unnecessary, but Washington and his supporters prevailed, and the Continental Army was founded. Chadwick’s book is important not just for the story of the first American army, but for the individual stories of the soldiers who served in it.

The First American Army

By Bruce Chadwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The First American Army as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first book that offers a you-are-there look at the American Revolution through the eyes of the enlisted men. Through searing portraits of individual soldiers, Bruce Chadwick, author of George Washington's War, brings alive what it was like to serve then in the American army.


With interlocking stories of ordinary Americans, he evokes what it meant to face brutal winters, starvation, terrible homesickness and to go into battle against the much-vaunted British regulars and their deadly Hessian mercenaries.


The reader lives through the experiences of those terrible and heroic times when a fifteen-year-old fifer survived the Battle of…


Saratoga

By John F. Luzader,

Book cover of Saratoga: A Military History of the Decisive Campaign of the American Revolution

John Luzader was an Army Ranger in World War II, and later park historian at the Saratoga Battlefield National Park. On the only occasion we met, John seemed discouraged about writing this book. Fortunately, I was not the only one who urged him to press on. The result is this fine military history of what was a decisive campaign of the American Revolution. It is likely that no one who has written about the campaign has known more about it.

Saratoga

By John F. Luzader,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Saratoga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The months-long Saratoga campaign was one of the most important military undertakings of the American Revolution, and John Luzader's impressive Saratoga: A Military History of the Decisive Campaign of the American Revolution, the first all-encompassing objective account of these pivotal months in American history, is now available in paperback.

British General John Burgoyne's army of 7,800 men intended to capture Albany, New York, wrest control of the vital Hudson River Valley from the colonists, carry a brutal war into the American interior, secure the Champlain-Hudson country, and make troops available for Sir William Howe's 1778 campaign.

Initial colonial opposition was…


The British Are Coming

By Rick Atkinson,

Book cover of The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777

Rick Atkinson is a master storyteller who approaches writing history with the attention to detail of an investigative reporter. I have had the privilege of meeting Rick, and he took the time to encourage me as I embarked on my own writing career.  His personal qualities aside, Rick’s gripping narrative highlights the drama that unfolded in the first years of the war, from Lexington and Concord to Trenton and Princeton. This is the first volume of what promises to be the definitive historical trilogy about the War for Independence.

The British Are Coming

By Rick Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The British Are Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'To say that Atkinson can tell a story is like saying Sinatra can sing ... A powerful new voice has been added to the dialogue about [America's] origins as a people and a nation. It is difficult to imagine any reader putting this beguiling book down without a smile and a tear.' New York Times

In June 1773, King George III attended a grand celebration of his reign over the greatest, richest empire since ancient Rome. Less than two years later, Britain's bright future turned dark: after a series of provocations, the king's soldiers took up arms against his rebellious…


Devil of a Whipping

By Lawrence E. Babits,

Book cover of Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens

This book should not be overlooked. Daniel Morgan was a Colonel in command of riflemen at Saratoga, and his performance there made his reputation. By 1781 Morgan was a general, commanding American forces at the Battle of Cowpens. Morgan led a mix of regular and militia units, which he cleverly deployed to make the best use of their variable skills and limitations. The result was a stunning victory that put the British on the road to Yorktown and defeat.

Devil of a Whipping

By Lawrence E. Babits,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Devil of a Whipping as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The real-life battle and heroes that inspired The Patriot On January 17, 1781, in a pasture near present-day Spartanburg, South Carolina, Daniel Morgan's army of Continental troops and militia routed an elite British force under the command of the notorious Banastre Tarleton. Using documentary and archaeological evidence to reconstruct the fighting at Cowpens, now a national battlefield, Lawrence Babits provides a riveting, minute-by-minute account of the clash that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War in the South and helped lead to the final defeat of the British at Yorktown.


Johnny Tremain

By Esther Hoskins Forbes,

Book cover of Johnny Tremain

This novel showed me the high cost of liberty.

I was immersed in the sights and smells of 1774 Boston, caught up in the excitement of the Tea Party, and felt the growing tension as the David-and-Goliath war loomed. Johnny, even as his pride brings him low, gets my sympathy because his secret thoughts are like my own. I learned the quirks and strengths of the big names in Revolutionary War history. This classic novel does what the best historical fiction does—transports us to a bygone era and puts skin on the men and women who were merely names in our history books before.

Johnny Tremain

By Esther Hoskins Forbes,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Johnny Tremain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This thrilling Newbery Medal-winning novel about the Revolutionary War is a classic of children's historical fiction.

Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper The Boston Observer and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren.

Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events of the American Revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at…


A People Numerous and Armed

By John Shy,

Book cover of A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence

This is a classic and provocative set of essays by an eminent historian who asked whether and in what ways the War for Independence resembled modern revolutionary wars. It led every serious historian of the Revolution to realize that the war was not simply a conflict between armies but a political struggle to secure the loyalty of the civilian population.

A People Numerous and Armed

By John Shy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A People Numerous and Armed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Americans like to think of themselves as a peaceful and peace-loving people, and in remembering their own revolutionary past, American historians have long tended to focus on colonial origins and Constitutional aftermath, neglecting the fact that the American Revolution was a long, hard war. In this book, John Shy shifts the focus to the Revolutionary War and explores the ways in which the experience of that war was entangled with both the causes and the consequences of the Revolution itself. This is not a traditional military chronicle of battles and campaigns, but a series of essays that recapture the social,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the American Revolution, the American Revolutionary War, and the Saratoga campaign?

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