97 books like Tennessee Frontiers

By John R. Finger,

Here are 97 books that Tennessee Frontiers fans have personally recommended if you like Tennessee Frontiers. 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 The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession

Lori Benton Author Of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

From my list on the Lost State of Franklin.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lori Benton is an award-winning, multi-published author of historical novels set during 18th century North America. Her literary passion is bringing little-known historical events to life through the eyes of those who lived it, particularly those set along the Appalachian frontier, where European and Native American cultural and world views collided. Her second published historical novel, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, is set against the backdrop of the State of Franklin conflict, in which a young woman and a frontiersman flee across the mountains of North Carolina to keep her free of an unwanted marriage, just as tensions over who is destined to govern the Overmountain settlers erupts into violence.

Lori's book list on the Lost State of Franklin

Lori Benton Why did Lori love this book?

It’s been a decade since I wrote my novel that featured as a backdrop the conflict over North Carolina’s western (Overmountain) counties’ attempt to form the controversial State of Franklin, but I remember how helpful Barksdale’s book was in forming my understanding of the era, the place, and the people involved. If I didn’t, the copious highlights and notes I left in my copy of this book would be enough to jog my memory. This book was highly readable and rich in detail.

By Kevin T. Barksdale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Amid the economic turmoil, Native American warfare, and political unrest following the Revolutionary War, the leadership of the Tennessee Valley declared their region independent from North Carolina and formed the state of Franklin. In The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession, Kevin T. Barksdale chronicles the rise and fall of the ill-fated Franklin statehood movement. Barksdale describes the dramatic four years in which the Franklinites crafted a backcountry bureaucracy, expanded their regional market economy, and nearly eradicated the southwestern frontier's Native American population, all with the goal of becoming America's fourteenth state. Although the Franklin statehood movement collapsed in…


Book cover of History of the Lost State of Franklin

Lori Benton Author Of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

From my list on the Lost State of Franklin.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lori Benton is an award-winning, multi-published author of historical novels set during 18th century North America. Her literary passion is bringing little-known historical events to life through the eyes of those who lived it, particularly those set along the Appalachian frontier, where European and Native American cultural and world views collided. Her second published historical novel, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, is set against the backdrop of the State of Franklin conflict, in which a young woman and a frontiersman flee across the mountains of North Carolina to keep her free of an unwanted marriage, just as tensions over who is destined to govern the Overmountain settlers erupts into violence.

Lori's book list on the Lost State of Franklin

Lori Benton Why did Lori love this book?

For many years this was the most comprehensive examination of the ill-fated State of Franklin. The author goes into great detail presenting the factors that led to this secession of its western counties from the State of North Carolina, in 1784. Still a must-read for anyone exploring this subject.

By Samuel Cole Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of the Lost State of Franklin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No other movement for separate statehood reached, even approximately, the stage attained by Franklin, that of a de facto government, waging war, negotiating treaties and functioning for a term of years in the three great departments that mark an American State, the legislative, executive, and judicial. Genealogical and biographical information is included here as well. The author has preserved the names of minor participants in the struggle, for or against separate statehood. Of the leaders, a fuller account is given. For some of these, even, this is a rescue of their names and deeds from near-oblivion.


Book cover of The Overmountain Men

Lori Benton Author Of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

From my list on the Lost State of Franklin.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lori Benton is an award-winning, multi-published author of historical novels set during 18th century North America. Her literary passion is bringing little-known historical events to life through the eyes of those who lived it, particularly those set along the Appalachian frontier, where European and Native American cultural and world views collided. Her second published historical novel, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, is set against the backdrop of the State of Franklin conflict, in which a young woman and a frontiersman flee across the mountains of North Carolina to keep her free of an unwanted marriage, just as tensions over who is destined to govern the Overmountain settlers erupts into violence.

Lori's book list on the Lost State of Franklin

Lori Benton Why did Lori love this book?

If you want your information supplemented with copious amounts of photos, sketches, maps, tax lists and other helpful records, as well as excerpts from original source documents, this is the book on the State of Franklin for you. It also covers the Battle of King’s Mountain and several other key eras and events in the formation of what became eastern Tennessee.

By Pat Alderman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume is a compilation of a series of booklets planned by the author to cover succeeding periods of early Tennessee history. Beginning with the long hunters in the 1760s, and the ending with the Tennessee's admittance to the Union in 1796, the thirty-six eventful years are divided into five sections: The Overmountain Men; One Heroic Hour at King's Mountain; The Cumberland Decade; State of Franklin; and Southwest Territory

Filled with photographs, maps, and illustrations, this compact, readable text includes "Sycamore Shoals Treaty, March 17, 1775" "Washington County List of Taxable 1778" "Signers of the Franklin Petition" and many other…


Book cover of The Wataugans

Lori Benton Author Of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

From my list on the Lost State of Franklin.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lori Benton is an award-winning, multi-published author of historical novels set during 18th century North America. Her literary passion is bringing little-known historical events to life through the eyes of those who lived it, particularly those set along the Appalachian frontier, where European and Native American cultural and world views collided. Her second published historical novel, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, is set against the backdrop of the State of Franklin conflict, in which a young woman and a frontiersman flee across the mountains of North Carolina to keep her free of an unwanted marriage, just as tensions over who is destined to govern the Overmountain settlers erupts into violence.

Lori's book list on the Lost State of Franklin

Lori Benton Why did Lori love this book?

Another in-depth examination of the development of government in the Overmountain/East Tennessee region, lending a deeper understanding of what led to the failed State of Franklin movement, also covered in this book. A slender volume originally published as part of a series for Tennessee American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, it highlights many individual and conflicting viewpoints over the issues that impacted this region’s settlers and natives alike.

By Max Dixon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published as part of a series for the Tennessee American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, this well-written volume gives necessary background information and details the early activities in that area in the 1760s. It thoroughly covers the settlement during its vanguard role in the 1770s and chronicles the various events that brought a change from that of a holding action to one of aggressive expansion in the 1780s.


Book cover of Traveler's Companion to Montana History

Kirby Larson Author Of Hattie Big Sky

From my list on Montana during WWI.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history-phobe turned history fanatic thanks to a snippet of a family story about my great-grandmother. Casual interest morphed into a focused passion when I learned that she truly had homesteaded-- all by herself and in her late teens-- in eastern Montana in 1917. Her accomplishment inspired four years of research and writing, resulting in my first historical novel, Hattie Big Sky, which earned a Newbery Honor award and spent weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. More importantly, that bit of family lore revealed my purpose as a writer and I have since devoted my career to bringing the past alive for today’s young readers.

Kirby's book list on Montana during WWI

Kirby Larson Why did Kirby love this book?

The author, a history professor and Tennessee State Historian, provides an in-depth look into Montana history, region by region. The academic tone is nicely balanced by the people and events presented on the pages – plain folk to preachers and everything in between. A great companion to Jonathan Raban’s Badland.

By Carroll Van West,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Traveler's Companion to Montana History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Montana writer and historian Joseph Kinsey Howard described Montana as "high, wide, and handsome." It is difficult to find better words for Montana's geography. Between these covers, Carroll Van West discusses Montana's physical and historical landscapes, the settings for important events involving exploration, the military, Native Americans, miners, cowboys, homesteaders, and railroad builders as well as the physical remnants of Montana's prehistoric past. With this guide in hand, readers can discover a Montana past unavailable in more standard histories.


Book cover of The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

Marsha Diane Arnold Author Of The Pumpkin Runner

From my list on children's stories about running.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a multi-award-winning picture book author of many types of books, from The Pumpkin Runner to Badger’s Perfect Garden. I’ve always been a reader more than an athlete, but throughout my life, I’ve enjoyed running - running down a dusty Kansas backroad, running to the pasture to call in the cows, running to the stream to climb a cottonwood. When I reached my sixties, I finally decided it was time to run a half-marathon. Partway through the race, I broke my foot! But I persevered. When I crossed the finish line, I felt a little like Joshua Summerhayes in The Pumpkin Runner.

Marsha's book list on children's stories about running

Marsha Diane Arnold Why did Marsha love this book?

This is another book about Wilma Rudolph, but this one focuses on how Wilma inspired two young girls in Clarksville, Tennessee, Wilma’s birthplace. Alta is The Quickest Kid in Clarksville, but worries about Charmaine, the new girl with brand-new, “stripes down the sides” shoes. The author’s writing is fast-paced with a rhythm to it, perfect for a running book about winning, losing, and friendship. Yes, friendship, as when Wilma Rudolph arrives for a parade to celebrate her Olympic wins, the girls finally agree to carry Alta's big banner to the parade in a relay race like Wilma won at the Olympics.

By Pat Zietlow Miller, Frank Morrison (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quickest Kid in Clarksville as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She'll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn't matter that Alta's shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid?
The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.


Book cover of Child of God

Jill Hand Author Of White Oaks

From my list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong New Jerseyan married to a man whose family comes from Georgia. It gave me an opportunity to observe the white, Southern, upper-class weltanschauung, up close. To hear them talk, you’d think the Civil War had ended just a few days earlier, and if the Yankees had only respected states’ rights, none of that mess would have happened. My book is about a dysfunctional Georgia family who has far too much money than is good for them. Hijinks ensue.

Jill's book list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted

Jill Hand Why did Jill love this book?

When I worked for a daily newspaper, I covered the trial of serial killer Richard Biegenwald. Unlike a lot of serial killers, who tend to be loners, Biegenwald was married. He seemed fairly normal, except for his habit of occasionally killing people and burying them in his mother’s backyard. Serial killers, people who don’t kill in self-defense, or to protect someone from harm, but just because they like killing, have always fascinated me. Sitting in court, twenty feet from a real, live serial killer, was intensely interesting and not a little creepy.

Having covered the trial of a serial killer, I was intrigued by what would make someone do that. The serial killer in Child of God is a loner who’s lost his home and who constantly tries, and fails, to connect with other people. His struggles are as poignant as his deeds are gruesome. 

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this taut, chilling novel from the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Road, Lester Ballard—a violent, dispossessed man falsely accused of rape—haunts the hill country of East Tennessee when he is released from jail.

While telling his story, Cormac McCarthy depicts the most sordid aspects of life with dignity, humor, and characteristic lyrical brilliance.

"Like the novelists he admires-Melville, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner-Cormac McCarthy has created an imaginative oeuvre greater and deeper than any single book. Such writers wrestle with the gods themselves." —Washington Post

Look for Cormac McCarthy's new novel, The Passenger.


Book cover of The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History

Robert N. Wiedenmann Author Of The Silken Thread: Five Insects and Their Impacts on Human History

From my list on the history we never learned.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not a historian. I am a retired entomologist with a love for history. My first real experience with history was as a child, reading about Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic adventure on the Endurance—a story I must have re-read 50 times. I have come to recognize that much of the history I learned growing up was either incomplete or was just plain wrong. I am drawn to the arcane aspects of historical events, or that illustrate history from a different angle—which is shown in my list of books. The Silken Thread tells about the history that occurred because of, or was impacted by, just five insects.

Robert's book list on the history we never learned

Robert N. Wiedenmann Why did Robert love this book?

Yellow fever, like many feared diseases, conjures up an image of faraway, steamy rain forests. At one time, yellow fever really was found there. But the disease—and the mosquito that carries it—didn't stay there. I was surprised to learn how prominent and feared yellow fever was in early Colonial America and that it persisted in the United States through the early 20th Century. Crosby provides background on the disease from Africa, its path to the Americas, and routine epidemics in New Orleans, but the book's primary focus is the account of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878 that decimated Memphis, Tennessee, and other towns along the Mississippi River.  I liked this book for filling in the blanks in my awareness and understanding of this American plague. 

By Molly Caldwell Crosby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this account, a journalist traces the course of the infectious disease known as yellow fever, “vividly [evoking] the Faulkner-meets-Dawn of the Dead horrors” (The New York Times Book Review) of this killer virus.

Over the course of history, yellow fever has paralyzed governments, halted commerce, quarantined cities, moved the U.S. capital, and altered the outcome of wars. During a single summer in Memphis alone, it cost more lives than the Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, and the Johnstown flood combined.

In 1900, the U.S. sent three doctors to Cuba to discover how yellow fever was spread. There, they…


Book cover of This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality

Patricia Hruby Powell Author Of Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

From my list on how to right social injustice (especially racism).

Why am I passionate about this?

Patricia Hruby Powell’s former careers include dancer/choreographer, storyteller, and librarian. She is the author of the YA documentary novel Loving vs. Virginia which is on ALA, NCTE, Indie Pics, and Kirkus ‘best books lists’. From a young age, her parents instilled in her a social conscience and a will to try to right injustice. She attempts to do this, in part, by writing books that might shine a light on injustice, for young readers, such that they will care and perhaps become activists—for whatever impassions them. Her books have earned Sibert, Boston Globe-Horn Book, International Bologna/Ragazzi, Parent’s Choice Honors among others.

Patricia's book list on how to right social injustice (especially racism)

Patricia Hruby Powell Why did Patricia love this book?

A collaborative book written in verse by award-winning Debbie Levy and JoAnn Allen Boyce who was one of twelve African American students who desegregated Clinton High School in eastern Tennessee in 1956. Brown vs. Board of Education ruled to integrate schools in 1954, but integration didn’t happen easily or quickly. We tend to know more about the Little Rock Nine of 1957 because national journalists published what became iconic photos of the tense struggle of courageous Black teenagers breaking through white hostility to attend a white high school. The earlier event in Tennessee was equally fraught (but less photographed). To have Boyce’s memory of events and her ability to articulate her feelings and Levy’s lyrical bent makes this an enlightening read.

By JoAnn Allen Boyce, Debbie Levy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Promise of Change 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?

Recipient of a Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor
Winner of the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction
2020 National Council for the Social Studies Carter G. Woodson Honor Recipient
A NYPL Top Ten of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting…


Book cover of She Walks These Hills

Leslie Wheeler Author Of Rattlesnake Hill

From my list on where the sense of place becomes a character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mystery author from sunny California who moved to New England to be close to my dark roots. Places spark my imagination. As a child, I’d look at a house and wonder, “What would it be like to live there, in that town and that landscape?” On family road trips, my parents fueled my desire for knowledge about different places by reading from the WPA guides to the states. The books I enjoy the most have a strong sense of place. I want my readers to experience my settings as fully as I do. Setting is where a book begins. Characters and story spring from this fertile ground.

Leslie's book list on where the sense of place becomes a character

Leslie Wheeler Why did Leslie love this book?

I was drawn to this book because it’s loaded with atmosphere, and features hill folk like I do, with the difference that McCrumb’s characters inhabit the hills of Tennessee, while mine live in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. I especially like the way she weaves local lore and legends into the story, and how she reveals how the landscape appears to different characters, ranging from a long-ago woman, kidnapped by Indians who escapes and makes her way homeward, to a modern-day non-hillbilly who struggles to re-create her difficult journey. Then, there’s the way McCrumb adds a dash of the supernatural through a character with psychic powers—all of which have been grist to my fictional mill.

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Walks These Hills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Katie Wyler still crosses Ashe Mountain, and although a few can see her, Deputy Sheriff Martha Ayers doesn't believe in ghosts. Hiram Sorley has escaped after 30 years in prison and he's on his way home to Ashe Mountain. Only Martha seems to understand that Sorley's wife and daughter are in danger.


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