27 books like Madison's Hand

By Mary Sarah Bilder,

Here are 27 books that Madison's Hand fans have personally recommended if you like Madison's Hand. 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 Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America

Drew A. Swanson Author Of Remaking Wormsloe Plantation: The Environmental History of a Lowcountry Landscape

From my list on why American parks look the way they do.

Who am I?

I grew up a farm kid and then worked as a park ranger fresh out of college. This background draws me to the history of American preservation, where so much that seems natural also has deep cultural roots. I find the American South—with its combination of irony and tragedy, beauty, and flaws—the most fascinating place on earth to study. Or maybe I’m just pulling for the home team.

Drew's book list on why American parks look the way they do

Drew A. Swanson Why did Drew love this book?

An acclaimed historian of the Civil War, Nelson’s newest book connects the nation’s Reconstruction struggles with its impulse to set aside dramatic western landscapes as national parks. The compelling narrative follows not only western scientist-adventurers like Ferdinand Hayden, but also weaves the preservation of Yellowstone into the Indian Wars and the violence against freedpeople in the American South. At a time when Americans sought healing in the aftermath of a divisive war, they turned to magnificent western landscapes like Yellowstone, only to find they were also contested ground.

By Megan Kate Nelson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From historian and critically acclaimed author of The Three-Cornered War comes the captivating story of how Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in the years after the Civil War, offering “a fresh, provocative study…departing from well-trodden narratives about conservation and public recreation” (Booklist, starred review).

Each year nearly four million people visit Yellowstone National Park—one of the most popular of all national parks—but few know the fascinating and complex historical context in which it was established. In late July 1871, the geologist-explorer Ferdinand Hayden led a team of scientists through a narrow canyon into Yellowstone Basin, entering one of…


Book cover of Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate

Andrei P. Tsygankov Author Of Russia's Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity

From my list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War.

Who am I?

I am a Russian academic living in the West and a contributor to both Western and Russian academia. I move between the two and try to build bridges by explaining the two sides’ differences and areas of potential cooperation. I do it in my teaching and research on international politics, which I understand through the lens of culture and politics. Most of my books analyze Russian and Western patterns of thinking formed through history and interaction with each other. I love reading good books about these topics and hope you enjoy my selected list!

Andrei's book list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War

Andrei P. Tsygankov Why did Andrei love this book?

The book is a great guide to understand Russia’s perspective on post-Cold War developments and the contemporary crisis of relations with the West. Written by a historian, the book reconstructs the role of NATO expansion in shaping Russia’s security interests since the 1990s. The author documents opportunities, errors, and (mis)perceptions by both sides in setting their relations in the course of growing geopolitical tensions.

By M. E. Sarotte,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Not One Inch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A leading expert on foreign policy reveals how tensions between America, NATO, and Russia transformed geopolitics in a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2021

"Sarotte has the receipts, as it were: her authoritative tale draws on thousands of memos, letters, briefs, and other once secret documents-including many that have never been published before-which both fill in and complicate settled narratives on both sides."-Joshua Yaffa, New Yorker

"The most engaging and carefully documented account of this period in East-West diplomacy currently available."-Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs

Prize-winning historian, M.E. Sarotte pulls back the curtain on the crucial decade between the fall of…


Book cover of To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Author Of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

From my list on for Father’s Day.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it; from the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history. I now make my career as a presidential historian, and I’m committed to sharing this history with a broad public audience in books, opinion editorials, podcasts, and other media. In my experience, most people find history fascinating if they can learn about it in an interesting way. That’s my goal with all my work and the goal of the books I’ve recommended below!

Lindsay's book list on for Father’s Day

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Why did Lindsay love this book?

The political parties can be a bit confusing as the names Republican and Democratic have been around for centuries, but hardly resemble the original parties at their formation. To Make Men Free is the best overview of the Grand Old Party, its many evolutions, and its important role in American history. It is also my favorite of the many books written by famed historian Heather Cox Richardson. To Make Men Free would be a great gift for subscribers to Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American, or dads who are interested in politics.

By Heather Cox Richardson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Make Men Free as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Abraham Lincoln helped create the Republican Party on the eve of the Civil War, his goal was to promote economic opportunity for all Americans, not just the slaveholding Southern planters who steered national politics. Yet, despite the egalitarian dream at the heart of its founding, the Republican Party quickly became mired in a fundamental identity crisis. Would it be the party of democratic ideals? Or would it be the party of moneyed interests? In the century and a half since, Republicans have vacillated between these two poles, with dire economic, political, and moral repercussions for the entire nation.In To…


Book cover of Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic

David S. Parker Author Of The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay

From my list on dueling that explain why people fought duels.

Who am I?

I am a social and legal historian of late 19th and early 20th Century Latin America, and the majority of my work is about the emergence of the middle class. I first got interested in researching dueling because I had the idea that the duel probably played a role in creating and enforcing a social dividing line between the upper elite and the middle class. But once I got immersed in the historical documents I realized how wrong my initial hypothesis had been, how little dueling had to do with social class, and how much it was about maintaining—or sometimes gaming for advantage—the norms of decorum in politics and the press.

David's book list on dueling that explain why people fought duels

David S. Parker Why did David love this book?

This is one of the books that inspired and provided source material for the musical Hamilton. Freeman is a Pulitzer prize-winning historian of post-1776 United States. This masterful history of the early American republic shows how dueling needs to be understood as politics by other means, as part of the mad scramble for power and prestige in the context of never-ending “paper wars” in the partisan press. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I’ll never forget how much the cover art captured my imagination, and how brilliantly it reflects what you will find inside.

This book is not just about duels; it also covers political alliances, gossip, insults, and elections.  But that is Freeman’s whole point, that they are all interconnected, and dueling is just one piece of a larger picture.

By Joanne B. Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A major reassessment of American political culture in the days of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Burr

"[A] landmark study of Hamilton and the founders."-Jeff Sharlet, Chronicle of Higher Education

"Demands the attention of everyone with a serious interest in the history of American politics."-Pauline Maier, Washington Post

In this extraordinary book, Joanne Freeman offers a major reassessment of political culture in the early years of the American republic. By exploring both the public actions and private papers of key figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, Freeman reveals an alien and profoundly unstable political world grounded on the…


Book cover of Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

Dennis C. Rasmussen Author Of Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders

From my list on American founders from a political theorist.

Who am I?

I’m a political theorist at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. I spent the first fifteen years or so of my career working on the Scottish and French Enlightenments (Adam Smith, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire), but in recent years I’ve been drawn more and more to the American founding. In addition to Fears of a Setting Sun, I’m also the author of The Constitution’s Penman: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of America’s Basic Charter, which explores the constitutional vision of the immensely colorful individual who—unbeknownst to most Americans—wrote the US Constitution.

Dennis' book list on American founders from a political theorist

Dennis C. Rasmussen Why did Dennis love this book?

For all the drama of the Philadelphia Convention, it would have been an empty exercise had the American people not ratified the charter that it produced. Pauline Maier’s Ratification tells the surprisingly dramatic story of the state-by-state ratification process, one that encompasses not only the famous figures of the period but also everyday citizens. Maier’s book on the Declaration of Independence, American Scripture, is also excellent.

By Pauline Maier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


Book cover of Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787

Joseph D'Agnese Author Of Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution

From my list on the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

Who am I?

Joseph D’Agnese grew up in the Bicentennial-fueled excitement of the 1970s, and spent 1976 fake-playing a fife and sporting a tricorn hat in various school events. Besides teaching him how to get in and out of Revolutionary-period knickers, this experience awakened in him a love for the Founding Era of American history. He has since authored three history titles with his wife, The New York Times bestselling author Denise Kiernan. 

Joseph's book list on the creation of the U.S. Constitution

Joseph D'Agnese Why did Joseph love this book?

This one is my absolute favorite. The Collier brothers wrote numerous books on American history for kids and adults alike.

Even though I knew that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 resulted in the creation of the U.S. Constitution, many times as I was reading this book—which is aimed squarely at adults—I found myself thinking, “I can’t wait to see how this ends!” The book is really that suspenseful, and reads like a novel.

The authors are especially good at describing the personalities of the players. My favorite is their analysis of the father-son nature of the bond between George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, who served as the general’s aide during the Revolutionary War.

I am willing to bet most fans of the musical Hamilton never quite grasped the nuances of that relationship. I also really loved their description of a famous moment in the deliberations when George Washington loses his…

By Christopher Collier, James Lincoln Collier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Includes a complete copy of the Constitution.
Fifty-five men met in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a document that would create a country and change a world. Here is a remarkable rendering of that fateful time, told with humanity and humor. "The best popular history of the Constitutional Convention available."--Library Journal


Book cover of Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution

Joseph D'Agnese Author Of Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution

From my list on the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

Who am I?

Joseph D’Agnese grew up in the Bicentennial-fueled excitement of the 1970s, and spent 1976 fake-playing a fife and sporting a tricorn hat in various school events. Besides teaching him how to get in and out of Revolutionary-period knickers, this experience awakened in him a love for the Founding Era of American history. He has since authored three history titles with his wife, The New York Times bestselling author Denise Kiernan. 

Joseph's book list on the creation of the U.S. Constitution

Joseph D'Agnese Why did Joseph love this book?

What’s fascinating about the making of the Constitution is how every point the framers debated in 1787 rang down through the ensuing years.

Should a state’s power be determined by its land size and resources—or the size of its population? Should we abolish slavery, or pass the buck to another generation? Who should get the right to vote—rich men or all men? Deciding these big three questions consumed much of the squabbles, and led to compromise. State’s rights, for example, led to creation of the bicameral structure of Congress.

The slavery question ultimately led to war in the 19th century, and the stinging legacy of the infamous Three-fifths Compromise. Their decisions on voting rights later resulted in amendments granting African Americans and women the right of suffrage. It’s almost as if you can glimpse America’s future in those 1787 debates.

The late Richard Beeman, then a professor at the University…

By Richard Beeman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Plain, Honest Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In May 1787, in an atmosphere of crisis, delegates met in Philadelphia to design a radically new form of government. Distinguished historian Richard Beeman captures as never before the dynamic of the debate and the characters of the men who labored that historic summer. Virtually all of the issues in dispute—the extent of presidential power, the nature of federalism, and, most explosive of all, the role of slavery—have continued to provoke conflict throughout our nation's history. This unprecedented book takes readers behind the scenes to show how the world's most enduring constitution was forged through conflict, compromise, and fragile consensus.…


Book cover of James Madison: Writings (Loa #109)

Jane Hampton Cook Author Of The Burning of the White House: James and Dolley Madison and the War of 1812

From my list on the War of 1812.

Who am I?

As a writer of ten mostly historical nonfiction books, I tried to rely on the original writings of the people that I wrote about rather than third-hand accounts. What I love about reading people's own words is that letters allow you to see a person's humanity and their emotional reactions to their circumstances. I also love the cinematic qualities of the story of the burning of the White House. Both Dolley and James Madison went through an authentic, organic character change in the aftermath, much like characters in a movie. I also loved the revival of patriotism that took place in the aftermath, which is similar to the aftermath of  9/11.

Jane's book list on the War of 1812

Jane Hampton Cook Why did Jane love this book?

Though this collection spans Madison's career, his letters during the War of 1812 show a cinematic transformation in his leadership style and views on his power as president. 

Because of his pivotal role in securing the U.S. Constitution, President Madison often deferred to Congress as a co-equal branch of government. He was overly trusting with his cabinet members. But the burning of the White House and the U.S. Capitol lit a fire of urgency in him and changed him, like the hero of a movie. After the burning of the White House on August 24, 1814, Madison carefully documented his conversation with his war secretary, General John Armstrong. Madison skillfully confronted Armstrong for disobeying his orders and failing to defend Washington. It's a throw-down in the most gentlemanly way.

By James Madison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over 200 years after the founding of the federal republic, James Madison remains the most important political thinker in American history. The prime framer of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Madison was also a brilliant expositor of the new republican government and its underlying principles. His eloquent and insightful writing on freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the rights of minorities under majority rule, the role of the states in the federal system, and the separation of powers are central to American political thought and speak to the controversies of the present day.

Arranged chronologically,…


Book cover of A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison

Jane Hampton Cook Author Of The Burning of the White House: James and Dolley Madison and the War of 1812

From my list on the War of 1812.

Who am I?

As a writer of ten mostly historical nonfiction books, I tried to rely on the original writings of the people that I wrote about rather than third-hand accounts. What I love about reading people's own words is that letters allow you to see a person's humanity and their emotional reactions to their circumstances. I also love the cinematic qualities of the story of the burning of the White House. Both Dolley and James Madison went through an authentic, organic character change in the aftermath, much like characters in a movie. I also loved the revival of patriotism that took place in the aftermath, which is similar to the aftermath of  9/11.

Jane's book list on the War of 1812

Jane Hampton Cook Why did Jane love this book?

Paul Jennings' memoirs are a vital voice to understanding this historical epoch. On August 24, 1814, he was present when Dolley Madison ordered the painting of George Washington to be taken off the wall before evacuating the White House. Jennings was also the last person out of the White House before the British military arrived. Were it not for Jennings, we would not know that an innkeeper cursed Dolley Madison and kicked her out of her hotel because she was angry that her husband had been fighting prior to the burning of the White House. His reminiscences of life as a slave and a free person show his character, honor, and determination.

By Paul Jennings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Colored Man's Reminiscences of James Madison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King; Comprising His Letters, Private and Official, His Public Documents, and His Speeches Volume 5

Jane Hampton Cook Author Of The Burning of the White House: James and Dolley Madison and the War of 1812

From my list on the War of 1812.

Who am I?

As a writer of ten mostly historical nonfiction books, I tried to rely on the original writings of the people that I wrote about rather than third-hand accounts. What I love about reading people's own words is that letters allow you to see a person's humanity and their emotional reactions to their circumstances. I also love the cinematic qualities of the story of the burning of the White House. Both Dolley and James Madison went through an authentic, organic character change in the aftermath, much like characters in a movie. I also loved the revival of patriotism that took place in the aftermath, which is similar to the aftermath of  9/11.

Jane's book list on the War of 1812

Jane Hampton Cook Why did Jane love this book?

Senator Rufus King played the role of disrupter on Capitol Hill during James Madison's presidency. Once united in the public relations campaign to convince the states to ratify the U.S. Constitution, King and Madison became rivals when King ran as the vice-presidential candidate on the ticket against President Madison in the 1808 presidential campaign. That rivalry took a conspiratorial turn in 1813 and 1814. Thanks to King's letters, we now know that General Armstrong was speaking covertly to Senator King against President Madison while serving in Madison's cabinet. Both New Yorkers with their eye on the presidency, their mutual ambition was to ensure that no Virginian, especially Secretary of State James Monroe, won the presidency in 1816. Their failure shows why most Americans do not know the name of Rufus King.

By Rufus King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King; Comprising His Letters, Private and Official, His Public Documents, and His Speeches Volume 5 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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