100 books like A Revolution in Color

By Jane Kamensky,

Here are 100 books that A Revolution in Color fans have personally recommended if you like A Revolution in Color. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812

Edward G. Gray Author Of Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States

From my list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the American Revolution began with a college course on the French Revolution. I was enthralled by the drama of it all. Being the impressionable late adolescent that I was, I naturally explained to my professor, a famous French historian of the French Revolution, that I wanted to dedicate my life to the study of this fascinating historical period. My professor urged me to reconsider. He suggested I look at a less well-known Revolution, the one British colonists undertook a decade earlier. I started reading books about the American Revolution. Now, forty years on, I’m still enthralled by the astonishing creative energy of this period in American history. 

Edward's book list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution

Edward G. Gray Why did Edward love this book?

Paine, Copley, and Priestley were all beneficiaries of formal institutional associations, mostly through the voluntary scientific and art associations, the American Philosophical Society in America and the Royal Society and Royal Academy in Britain. Martha Ballard, a midwife living during the early years of the American Republic in Maine (at the time a province of Massachusetts), had no formal associations but she did have deep and abiding affiliations. If not with elite academies, sanctioned by kings, and populated by periwigged gentlemen, then with family and community.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A Midwife’s Tale remains the finest study ever written about the generative power of family and community in the early history of the American republic. Ballard’s meticulous diary, nearly 10,000 entries, afforded Ulrich access to the full, grueling realities of this remarkable woman’s life—through her own family’s trials, which included the births of her nine children, and the more than eight…

By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Midwife's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • Drawing on the diaries of one woman in eighteenth-century Maine, "A truly talented historian unravels the fascinating life of a community that is so foreign, and yet so similar to our own" (The New York Times Book Review).

Between 1785 and 1812 a midwife and healer named Martha Ballard kept a diary that recorded her arduous work (in 27 years she attended 816 births) as well as her domestic life in Hallowell, Maine. On the basis of that diary, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gives us an intimate and densely imagined portrait, not only of the industrious and…


Book cover of The Invention of Air: A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America

Edward G. Gray Author Of Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States

From my list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the American Revolution began with a college course on the French Revolution. I was enthralled by the drama of it all. Being the impressionable late adolescent that I was, I naturally explained to my professor, a famous French historian of the French Revolution, that I wanted to dedicate my life to the study of this fascinating historical period. My professor urged me to reconsider. He suggested I look at a less well-known Revolution, the one British colonists undertook a decade earlier. I started reading books about the American Revolution. Now, forty years on, I’m still enthralled by the astonishing creative energy of this period in American history. 

Edward's book list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution

Edward G. Gray Why did Edward love this book?

Few figures better embody the intersection of innovation and revolutionary radicalism than the brilliant theologian, political theorist, and natural philosopher, Joseph Priestley, the subject of Johnson’s delightful and informative book. An ordained minister, Priestley abandoned the teachings of the Church of England for Unitarianism, a move that banished him to the theological sidelines. Priestley’s brilliance was not limited to the theological and, as he moved to the outer fringes of British religious life, he moved to the red-hot center of the nation’s scientific life, gaining election to the esteemed Royal Society. Among Priestley’s many contributions to the chemical sciences was to identify components parts of air, including the elemental oxygen. As he pursued far-reaching truths in the natural sciences, Priestley’s religious views remained controversial and by the time revolution erupted in France, they had elicited a reaction from British government officials, terrified by the contagion of revolution. Facing criminal prosecution…

By Steven Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Invention of Air as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of How We Got To Now, The Ghost Map and Farsighted, a new national bestseller: the “exhilarating”( Los Angeles Times) story of Joseph Priestley, “a founding father long forgotten”(Newsweek) and a brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers.

In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation,…


Book cover of Young Benjamin Franklin: The Birth of Ingenuity

Edward G. Gray Author Of Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States

From my list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the American Revolution began with a college course on the French Revolution. I was enthralled by the drama of it all. Being the impressionable late adolescent that I was, I naturally explained to my professor, a famous French historian of the French Revolution, that I wanted to dedicate my life to the study of this fascinating historical period. My professor urged me to reconsider. He suggested I look at a less well-known Revolution, the one British colonists undertook a decade earlier. I started reading books about the American Revolution. Now, forty years on, I’m still enthralled by the astonishing creative energy of this period in American history. 

Edward's book list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution

Edward G. Gray Why did Edward love this book?

No single American better embodies the ideals of ingenuity and innovation than the great polymath Benjamin Franklin. Practically everything a man could do in the eighteenth century Franklin did—and he did them with an aptitude matched by few and exceeded by even fewer. Franklin made a fortune in the printing trade—rare enough in the publishing and printing capitals of Europe, but all but unheard of in the colonies. His scientific discoveries were unparalleled and earned him the accolades of the greatest scientific minds of the age.

He was also responsible for countless inventions—including the lightning rod, bifocals, a smokeless stove, and the glass armonica, an instrument for which both Mozart and Beethoven composed music. He was a master of the byzantine politics of European royal courts—this despite being of ordinary birth and coming of age in a place with none of the pomp and majesty of Europe’s great imperial capitals.…

By Nick Bunker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this new account of Franklin's early life, Pulitzer finalist Nick Bunker portrays him as a complex, driven young man who elbows his way to success.

From his early career as a printer and journalist to his scientific work and his role as a founder of a new republic, Benjamin Franklin has always seemed the inevitable embodiment of American ingenuity. But in his youth he had to make his way through a harsh colonial world, where he fought many battles with his rivals, but also with his wayward emotions. Taking Franklin to the age of forty-one, when he made his…


Book cover of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

Edward G. Gray Author Of Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States

From my list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the American Revolution began with a college course on the French Revolution. I was enthralled by the drama of it all. Being the impressionable late adolescent that I was, I naturally explained to my professor, a famous French historian of the French Revolution, that I wanted to dedicate my life to the study of this fascinating historical period. My professor urged me to reconsider. He suggested I look at a less well-known Revolution, the one British colonists undertook a decade earlier. I started reading books about the American Revolution. Now, forty years on, I’m still enthralled by the astonishing creative energy of this period in American history. 

Edward's book list on ingenuity and innovation in the American Revolution

Edward G. Gray Why did Edward love this book?

Next to Franklin, Thomas Jefferson is surely the most inventive, innovative member of the American Revolutionary pantheon. He is known for his powerful formulations of revolutionary ideas—in the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and his inaugural address as third President of the United States. These contributions rested on deep and disciplined study in the human sciences, including history, geography, ethnography, political economy, as well as applied sciences such as horticulture, viticulture, and architecture. In their learned meditation on the life and thought of this most learned of American founders, Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter Onuf offer a fresh perspective on Jefferson.

In so many ways, he embodied the cutting-edge values of the American Revolution, but Jefferson also embodied the contradictions of the Revolution—particularly as they related to the institution of slavery. Rather than dismiss him as a hypocrite, Gordon-Reed and Onuf set out to explain Jefferson. For…

By Annette Gordon-Reed, Peter S. Onuf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thomas Jefferson is still presented today as an enigmatic figure, despite being written about more than any other Founding Father. Lauded as the most articulate voice of American freedom, even as he held people in bondage, Jefferson is variably described as a hypocrite, an atheist and a simple-minded proponent of limited government. Now, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and leading Jefferson scholar team up to present an absorbing and revealing character study that finally clarifies the philosophy of Jefferson. The authors explore what they call the "empire" of Jefferson's imagination-his expansive state of mind born of the intellectual influences and life…


Book cover of 1774: The Long Year of Revolution

Alexis Coe Author Of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington

From my list on George Washington.

Why am I passionate about this?

Alexis Coe is a presidential historian and the New York Times bestselling author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, which was also Audible’s best history book of 2020 and Barnes and Nobel's nonfiction Book of the Month. She was a producer and appeared in Doris Kearns Goodwin's Washington series on the History Channel.

Alexis' book list on George Washington

Alexis Coe Why did Alexis love this book?

George Washington didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence because he was already too busy fighting for it. Americans have become so focused on 1776, but the American Revolution was a long time coming. Mary Beth Norton does an excellent job of focusing on a pivotal year. 

By Mary Beth Norton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1774 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of our most acclaimed and original colonial historians, a groundbreaking book tracing the critical "long year" of 1774 and the revolutionary change that took place from the Boston Tea Party and the First Continental Congress to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

In this masterly work of history, the culmination of more than four decades of research and thought, Mary Beth Norton looks at the sixteen months leading up to the clashes at Lexington and Concord in mid-April 1775. This was the critical, and often overlooked, period when colonists…


Book cover of A Proper Sense of Honor: Service and Sacrifice in George Washington's Army

David Head Author Of A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution

From my list on what made American Revolution soldiers tick.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who loves watching the Founding Fathers do not-so-Founding-Fatherish things, like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson bonding over how awful Alexander Hamilton was, James Madison reporting how the king of Spain liked to relieve himself daily by the same oak tree, and George Washington losing his temper, asking his cousin to look for the teeth he just knew he’d left in his desk drawer, or spinning out a conspiracy theory. It’s details like this that reveal that even the most revealed figures were real people, like us but often very different. Figuring out how it all makes sense is a challenge I enjoy. 

David's book list on what made American Revolution soldiers tick

David Head Why did David love this book?

When I wanted to start understanding the culture of the Continental Army, this was the first book I read. Cox shows that General Washington wanted a hierarchical army, modeled on the British system, with gentlemen to lead the way as officers. He got much of what he wanted. Officers were recruited differently, rewarded differently, and punished differently than enlisted men. They experienced illness and injury differently (they were much more likely to be cared for in a private home, not left to suffer in camp), and they even died differently, with their names recorded for posterity while ordinary soldiers rarely rated a personal mention. Still, soldiers pushed back, not always accepting their lowly status, a key source of tension in an army fighting for liberty.

By Caroline Cox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Proper Sense of Honor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Armies are the products of the societies that create them. In 1775, when patriot leaders formed the Continental army, they were informed by their own experiences and their knowledge of the British army. Thus, the Continental Congress created a corps of officers who were gentlemen and a body of soldiers who were not. Caroline Cox shows that, following this decision, a great gap existed in the conditions of service between soldiers and officers of the Continental army. Her study of daily military life, punishment and military justice, medical care and burial rituals illuminates the social world of the Continental army…


Book cover of This Glorious Cause: The Adventures of Two Company Officers in Washington's Army

Ray Raphael Author Of Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past

From my list on deepening your view of the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing my first of my ten books on the Founding Era, A People’s History of the American Revolution, I came across an amazing uprising not celebrated in the traditional saga of our nation’s birth: the people of Massachusetts, everywhere outside of Boston, actually cast off British authority in 1774, the year before Lexington and Concord. How could this critical episode have been so neglected? Who’s the gatekeeper here, anyway? That’s when I began to explore how events of those times morphed into stories, and how those stories mask what actually happened—the theme of Founding Myths.  

Ray's book list on deepening your view of the American Revolution

Ray Raphael Why did Ray love this book?

What about wives left behind when their husbands marched off to war? This neglected gem showcases the letters between Joseph Hodgkins, a Minuteman who answered the Lexington Alarm, and his wife Sarah, at home with three small children. Joseph reenlists, not once but twice: “If we Due not Exarte our selves in this gloris. Cause our all is gon and we made slaves of for Ever.” But with each succeeding term, Sarah’s letters become more heart-wrenching: “You may think I am too free in expressing my mind. I look for you almost every day but I dont alow myself to depend on anything for I find there is nothing to be depended upon but troble and disapointments. I hope you will Let Some body else take your Place.” Can such a marriage survive? 

By Herbert Treadwell Wade, Robert A. Lively,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"As I am ingaged in this glories Cause I am will to go whare I am Called"-so Joseph Hodgkins, a shoemaker of Ipswich, Massachusetts, declared to his wife the purpose that sustained him through four crucial years of the American Revolution. Hodgkins and his fellow townsman Nathaniel Wade, a carpenter, turned out for the Lexington alarm, fought at Bunker Hill, retreated from Long Island past White Plains, attacked at Trenton and Princeton, and enjoyed triumph at Saratoga. One of them wintered at Valley Forge, and the other was promoted to command at West Point on the night that Benedict Arnold…


Book cover of The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

Joel Richard Paul Author Of Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times

From my list on the American Revolution from an American historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an American historian and author of Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution and Without Precedent: Chief Justice Marshall and His Times. I teach constitutional law and history at the University of California Hastings Law School, where I am the Albert Abramson Professor. I have a new book on American history from the War of 1812 to the Civil War coming out in 2022.

Joel's book list on the American Revolution from an American historian

Joel Richard Paul Why did Joel love this book?

Bernard Bailyn studied the political pamphlets that persuaded people that the Revolutionary War was worth fighting. Bailyn explains why a relatively minor British tax fanned the flames of revolution, and how profound political philosophy was translated into common language. This is an important book that reveals the origins of our revolution. There’s a good reason it won the Pulitzer Prize.

By Bernard Bailyn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, awarded both the Pulitzer and the Bancroft prizes, has become a classic of American historical literature. Hailed at its first appearance as "the most brilliant study of the meaning of the Revolution to appear in a generation," it was enlarged in a second edition to include the nationwide debate on the ratification of the Constitution, hence exploring not only the Founders' initial hopes and aspirations but also their struggle to implement their ideas in constructing the national government.

Now, in a new preface, Bernard Bailyn reconsiders salient features of the book and isolates…


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

Jack N. Rakove Author Of Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution

From my list on the Revolutionary War and why the British lost it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a historian of the American Revolution back in the early 1970s and have been working on that subject ever since. Most of my writings pivot on national politics, the origins of the Constitution, and James Madison. But explaining why the Revolution occurred and why it took the course it did remain subjects that still fascinate me.

Jack's book list on the Revolutionary War and why the British lost it

Jack N. Rakove Why did Jack love this book?

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.

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,…


Book cover of To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments: The History of the First 100 Years of the War Against God and the Constitution, 1776 - 1876, and Its Modern Impact

C. D. Baker Author Of The List

From my list on the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maybe I have a passion for this era because I live outside of Philadelphia, or maybe because so many of my ancestors served in Washington’s militia while others refused to serve. Either way, the connection to the times are personal. Having researched the tensions of my Mennonite past during the Revolution, I found myself intrigued by broader challenges of conscience for the Pennsylvania colonists more generally. Discovering the role it played in British occupied Philadelphia was particularly fascinating. My interest is in the untold story, and what I stumbled upon for this book was downright exciting!

C. D.'s book list on the American Revolution

C. D. Baker Why did C. D. love this book?

The author meticulously follows the globalist movement from its ideological beginnings around the same time as the American Revolution until today. Contrasting the intentions of the founders with the schemes of today’s elites serves to sharpen the reader’s appreciation of why America could be special. If half of this book is correct, we’ve lots to be concerned about.

By Arthur R. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*This is the HARDCOVER version- not paperback!*


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the American Revolution, painters, and natural philosophy?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the American Revolution, painters, and natural philosophy.

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