100 books like Revolutionaries

By Jack N. Rakove,

Here are 100 books that Revolutionaries fans have personally recommended if you like Revolutionaries. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787

Katlyn Marie Carter Author Of Democracy in Darkness: Secrecy and Transparency in the Age of Revolutions

From my list on revolutionary ideas.

Who am I?

I am a historian of the eighteenth-century Atlantic World, specializing in the American and French Revolutions. The relationship between ideas and politics has fascinated me since I worked in media relations in Washington, DC. Because I think history can help us better understand our current political controversies and challenges, I write about the origins of representative democracy in the eighteenth century. I’m also an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame where I teach classes on colonial and revolutionary America, the Constitution, and history of the media.

Katlyn's book list on revolutionary ideas

Katlyn Marie Carter Why did Katlyn love this book?

No book has done more to change my thinking about the American Revolution and Constitution.

It’s a tome, but if you want to understand the political philosophy of the American Revolution—from the Stamp Act to the ratification of the federal Constitution—then this is your book. Wood follows the evolution of and innovation in American political thought from the struggle for independence through the creation of a new nation.

In doing so, he makes the case for why the American Revolution was revolutionary and raises the possibility of seeing the Constitution as an act of counter-revolution.

By Gordon S. Wood,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume describes the evolution of political thought from the Declaration of Independence to the ratification of the Constitution and in the process greatly illuminates the origins of the present American political system. In a new preface, he discusses the debate over republicanism that has developed since the book's original publication by UNC Press in 1969.


Book cover of The Minutemen and Their World

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

From my list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers.

Who am I?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

Kathleen DuVal Why did Kathleen love this book?

I first read Minutemen and Their World in graduate school, and it shaped how I see the Revolution and history more generally—history is made by the decisions of ordinary people.

First published in 1976 and recently reissued, it focuses on the battles of Lexington and Concord, where the first shots of the Revolution were fired. Like Zabin’s Boston Massacre, it starts before the well-known events. The people of Concord were ordinary men and women with no intention to revolt against their empire. They were busy arguing about local matters such as whether to fire their preacher.

What I love about this book is how we see them gradually become revolutionaries, really against their will, humanizing the Revolution and helping us understand that it was not inevitable.

By Robert A. Gross,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Minutemen and Their World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Bancroft Prize! The Minutemen and Their World, first published in 1976, is reissued now in a revised and expanded edition with a new preface and afterword by the author.

On April 19, 1775, the American Revolution began at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. The "shot heard round the world" catapulted this sleepy New England town into the midst of revolutionary fervor, and Concord went on to become the intellectual capital of the new republic. The town--future home to Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne--soon came to symbolize devotion to liberty, intellectual freedom, and the stubborn integrity of…


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.

Who am I?

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 History 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.

Who am I?

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?

If you want to read one comprehensive history of the Revolutionary War from start to finish, this is the book you should read. Alden has packed in all the important events and personalities from the French and Indian War through George Washington’s inauguration. It is the best, most richly detailed source I know for the remarkable story of how thirteen colonies defeated the world’s most powerful military and achieved something unprecedented  – an independent democratic republic.

By John R. Alden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The history of the American rebellion against England, written by one of America's preeminent eighteenth-century historians, differs from many views of the Revolution. It is not coloured by excessive worship of the Founding Fathers but, instead, permeated by sympathy for all those involved in the conflict. Alden has taken advantage of recent scholarship that has altered opinions about George III and Lord North. But most of all this is a balanced history,political, military, social, constitutional,of the thirteen colonies from the French and Indian War in 1763 to Washington's inauguration in 1789. Whether dealing with legendary figures like Adams and Jefferson…


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.

Who am I?

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 Johnny Tremain

Jean C. O'Connor Author Of The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution

From my list on bringing to life the American Revolutionary War.

Who am I?

Growing up in New England, I discovered a passion for the historical landmarks around me. My grandmother’s home in Andover, MA, had a plaque on the front door, declaring Lafayette made a speech from its front steps. In my grandmother’s journal, I discovered the story of the Lovells: Master John Lovell, Loyalist, of the Boston Latin School, and his son James Lovell, teacher at the school and patriot. Imagining the conflicts that must have brewed between them, I knew I had to write The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution. An English and history teacher, I wove historical background into study of literature.

Jean's book list on bringing to life the American Revolutionary War

Jean C. O'Connor Why did Jean love this book?

Set in Boston at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Johnny Tremain tells of a young silver-smith apprentice whose pride leads to disaster. His hand is crippled and he can no longer pursue his dream. His courage and desire to improve his life make him memorable; I still recall Johnny’s passion years after reading the novel. Eventually Johnny’s hand is healed by a surgeon and he joins the patriots. 

Johnny Tremain presents a brave character living in challenging and divisive times. Johnny Tremain brings to life conflicts with British rule and the determination of those on both sides of the struggle.

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. This book is for kids age 10, 11, and 12.

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…


Book cover of Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America

John Gilbert McCurdy Author Of Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution

From my list on the what caused the American Revolution.

Who am I?

I am a historian of the American Revolution. I am interested in the war that created the United States, why it happened, and its lasting effects on the world today. The British government kept meticulous records of the lead-up to American independence and I have scoured these for new and interesting stories that historians have missed. I teach history at Eastern Michigan University, and I am currently completing a book on buggery in the British army that will be out in 2024.

John's book list on the what caused the American Revolution

John Gilbert McCurdy Why did John love this book?

Also key to the coming of the Revolution was the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, when colonists tossed thousands of pounds of tea into the harbor. Benjamin Carp looks at the Tea Act of 1773, which lowered the duty on tea as a means of convincing Americans to agree to taxation without representation. He also traces the affairs of the East India Company in Asia and asks how its priorities affected America. Carp also investigates the protests against the Tea Act (of which the party in Boston was but one), asking how colonial resistance affected American politics. The defiance of the Patriots detailed here is not just a refutation of British imperial rule, but of a corrupt placemen and political inequality. 

By Benjamin L. Carp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An evocative and enthralling account of a defining event in American history

This thrilling book tells the full story of the an iconic episode in American history, the Boston Tea Party-exploding myths, exploring the unique city life of eighteenth-century Boston, and setting this audacious prelude to the American Revolution in a global context for the first time. Bringing vividly to life the diverse array of people and places that the Tea Party brought together-from Chinese tea-pickers to English businessmen, Native American tribes, sugar plantation slaves, and Boston's ladies of leisure-Benjamin L. Carp illuminates how a determined group of New Englanders…


Book cover of American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence

Joseph D'Agnese Author Of Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence

From my list on the Declaration of Independence that bring the signers to life.

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 Declaration of Independence that bring the signers to life

Joseph D'Agnese Why did Joseph love this book?

The U.S. Constitution is the document that spells out the framework of American government. In contrast, the Declaration is something of a “one and done” document; interesting for historical reasons, but not relevant to modern governance.

And yet…of the two documents, the Declaration of Independence has a stronger hold on American emotions. Both documents have their own holiday, but not many Americans celebrate Constitution Day, which falls on each September 17th, reserving fireworks and outdoor meals for the Fourth of July instead.

Why? According to the late MIT historian Pauline Maier, the Declaration has become a kind of sacred artifact that spells out the nation’s moral beliefs, even if those beliefs boil down to a single sentence about equality, and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Maier shows us how that transformation occurred. She walks us through many other obscure government documents during the Founding Era to…

By Pauline Maier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pauline Maier shows us the Declaration as both the defining statement of our national identity and the moral standard by which we live as a nation. It is truly "American Scripture," and Maier tells us how it came to be -- from the Declaration's birth in the hard and tortuous struggle by which Americans arrived at Independence to the ways in which, in the nineteenth century, the document itself became sanctified.

Maier describes the transformation of the Second Continental Congress into a national government, unlike anything that preceded or followed it, and with more authority than the colonists would ever…


Book cover of My Name Is Resolute

Rose Osterman Kleidon Author Of 1836: Year of Escape

From my list on immigration in the 1800s.

Who am I?

By chance, I was entrusted with rare historical documents about the immigrant generations in our family, which inspired this novel and grounded it in reality. Who wouldn’t wonder why they came? Besides, I have always been fascinated by pre-modern times and how steam power changed everything and dragged us along, kicking and screaming. And, even though they arrived in America in 1836, I grew up on the farm where they lived, so I heard tales of their amazing journey. It may be 186 years on, but it’s time to tell their story, which, it turns out, is a story for us all.  

Rose's book list on immigration in the 1800s

Rose Osterman Kleidon Why did Rose love this book?

In My Name Is Resolute, the main character, Resolute Talbot, is not an immigrant, but she is on the move, captured in Jamaica as a child in 1729 and taken by ship to New England to be sold into slavery. Resolute’s story takes the reader to fascinating places, including the American colonies as they begin to boil with pre-Revolutionary fervor. The era and events are challenging enough and made even more interesting as the narrator’s voice changes to reflect the change from child to woman. Highly recommended. 

By Nancy E. Turner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Name Is Resolute as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nancy Turner burst onto the literary scene with her hugely popular novels These Is My Words, Sarah's Quilt, and The Star Garden. Now, Turner has written the novel she was born to write, this exciting and heartfelt story of a woman struggling to find herself during the tumultuous years preceding the American Revolution. The year is 1729, and Resolute Talbot and her siblings are captured by pirates, taken from their family in Jamaica, and brought to the New World. Resolute and her sister are sold into slavery in New England and taught the trade of spinning and weaving. When Resolute…


Book cover of Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride

Marlene Targ Brill Author Of Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad

From my list on showing children making a difference.

Who am I?

I chose this focus because it fulfills one of my main goals of writing—to empower young readers by showing how what they do matters. Even the simplest actions can have huge consequences, no matter what someone’s age is. Whether someone saves another person’s life, like Allen Jay did, or stand up to a bully, doing what’s right makes a difference. Also, I like to right children into history so they understand that they’ve always played a key role in bettering this world.

Marlene's book list on showing children making a difference

Marlene Targ Brill Why did Marlene love this book?

Most people learn in school about Paul Revere’s ride in 1775 to warn colonists that British soldiers were coming to attack them. But few learn about the 16-year-old girl who made a similar run to gather militia for a surprise attack. Sybil supposedly rode alone at night about 40 miles in pouring rain, ultimately gathering 400 men to battle the British soldiers. She rode farther than Paul Revere in worse weather, and didn’t get captured as he did. This ordinary teenager, Sybil, was able to complete an ordinary feat.

By Marsha Amstel, Ellen Beier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

On a dark, cold, and rainy night in April 1777, Sybil Ludington sets out on a journey to warn American soldiers that danger is headed their way. The British are coming! They have already attacked a nearby town, and it is up to sixteen-year-old Sybil to make sure that she reaches the American soldiers before the British do. With only a large stick to defend herself, and her horse, Star, for company, Sybil rides off into the perilous night and changes the course of the American Revolution. The true story of Sybil's bravery and perseverance are faithfully related by Marsha…


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Interested in the American Revolution, the American Revolutionary War, and George Washington?

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