100 books like The Artificial River

By Carol Sheriff,

Here are 100 books that The Artificial River fans have personally recommended if you like The Artificial River. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Annette Gordon-Reed’s book introduces readers to the enslaved family of a Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson.

What I love about this book is that it upends the traditional picture of Jefferson while neither vilifying nor excusing him. It’s a full picture of a complicated man and the fascinating people who were part of his life. After all, the historian’s task is not to make heroes or villains but to show the full complexity of human beings.

At the center of the story is Sally Hemings, the half-sister of Jefferson’s wife and the mother of some of Jefferson’s children. The book also shows how a careful historian can interpret and evaluate different kinds of evidence, including documents, oral history, and DNA.

By Annette Gordon-Reed,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Hemingses of Monticello as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This epic work-named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times-tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826.


Book cover of Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America

Hannah Farber Author Of Underwriters of the United States: How Insurance Shaped the American Founding

From my list on American outcasts, oddballs, and one-of-a-kinds.

Why am I passionate about this?

People sometimes say that the purpose of anthropology is to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. I think the same about history. As these books demonstrate, apparently normal early Americans have complex and unique inner lives, while those who seem bizarre, remote, or august, in fact, have wholly relatable human experiences. I usually write about complicated systems, like insurance and law. But I cherish these books about outcasts, oddballs, and one-of-a-kinds. They remind me that our society comprises individuals whose life experiences, worldviews, and decisions are unique—and ultimately unpredictable. Whenever I write, I try to remember that.

Hannah's book list on American outcasts, oddballs, and one-of-a-kinds

Hannah Farber Why did Hannah love this book?

This book is for anyone whose family had open secrets—shocking, taboo, untraditional stories that could be tolerated as long as they remained unspoken. Rachel Hope Cleves thinks sometimes we should just say the secret out loud.

Shrugging off a scholarly tradition of delicacy and caution about sexuality in history, she marches into Charity and Sylvia's tiny New England bedroom and says: yes, these two women loved each other, yes, they considered themselves husband and wife, and yes, they definitely had sex. How do we know? How did their small town tolerate this? How could they have been church leaders?

I had all these questions, and Cleves answered them. Charity and Sylvia's poignant, astonishing story makes me wonder: what else is right in front of my eyes that I'm not seeing? 

By Rachel Hope Cleves,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charity and Sylvia is the intimate history of two ordinary women who lived in an extraordinary same-sex marriage during the early nineteenth century. Based on diaries, letters, and poetry, among other original documents, the research traces the women's lives in sharp detail. Charity Bryant was born in 1777 to a consumptive mother who died a month later. Raised in Massachusetts, Charity developed into a brilliant and strong-willed woman with a passion for her
own sex. After being banished from her family home by her father at age twenty, she traveled throughout Massachusetts, working as a teacher, making intimate female friends,…


Book cover of The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Ninetenth-Century New York

Rebecca Frost Author Of Words of a Monster: Analyzing the Writings of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer

From my list on crimes you've never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I picked up my first book about Jack the Ripper the summer after college and never looked back. Since then my collection of true crime has grown to overflow my office bookshelves and I’ve written a PhD dissertation and multiple books about true crime, focusing on serial killers. The genre is so much more than Bundy, Gacy, and Dahmer and I love talking with people about the less mainstream cases that interest them, and the newer victim-centered approaches that—fingers crossed—mark a change in how we talk about criminals and victims.

Rebecca's book list on crimes you've never heard of

Rebecca Frost Why did Rebecca love this book?

Helen Jewett was a sex worker living in New York in the 1830s. She worked in a brothel under a matron, which should have been a safe enough situation—she wasn’t out on the street, at least, and others knew when she had clients. Early one morning, however, others in the house wake up to realize there’s a fire in Helen’s room, and that she’s dead. Was it a murder committed by her last client, a man quickly identified as Richard Robinson, or was it a suicide? If she hadn’t died so brutally, we wouldn’t know Helen Jewett’s name, so she’s become another victim only known for her murder. Cohen reminds us that she’s more than just her death.

By Patricia Cline Cohen,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Murder of Helen Jewett as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1836, the murder of a young prostitute made headlines in New York City and around the country, inaugurating a sex-and-death sensationalism in news reporting that haunts us today. Patricia Cline Cohen goes behind these first lurid accounts to reconstruct the story of the mysterious victim, Helen Jewett.

From her beginnings as a servant girl in Maine, Helen Jewett refashioned herself, using four successive aliases, into a highly paid courtesan. She invented life stories for herself that helped her build a sympathetic clientele among New York City's elite, and she further captivated her customers through her seductive letters, which mixed…


Book cover of Doomsayers: Anglo-American Prophecy in the Age of Revolution

Carolyn Eastman Author Of The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States' First Forgotten Celebrity

From my list on the surprising world of the early American Republic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d love to see more readers explore the surprising world of the early American republic beyond stories about presidents and the Founders—in part because that history can be so illuminating about our own world. Originally from California, I’m now a professor in the History Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the author of the prizewinning A Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public after the Revolution. I’m now starting work on a new project on the yellow fever epidemics that struck New York City during the 1790s, a piece of which appeared in Smithsonian Magazine in March 2021 and the Intervals podcast produced by the Organization of American Historians.

Carolyn's book list on the surprising world of the early American Republic

Carolyn Eastman Why did Carolyn love this book?

We often think of the Age of Revolutions as linked to the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason and science. But as Juster demonstrates in this fascinating book, it was also an age of prophecy. If they were sometimes dismissed as crazy, hundreds of male and female prophets found significant followers during the 1790s and early 1800s—followers who saw in those prophetic visions inspired ways to live in and face the challenges of a growing democratic society. Even those of us who knew about some of the ecstatic religious practices of the Second Great Awakening found ourselves marveling at Juster’s recapturing of a world of visionaries during an Age of Reason. Ultimately, she inspires us to connect the emerging democratization of the early nineteenth century to the profusion of charismatic and sometimes unsettling religious leaders. A wonderful piece of scholarship that is also a dream to read.

By Susan Juster,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The age of revolution, in which kings were dethroned, radical ideals of human equality embraced, and new constitutions written, was also the age of prophecy. Neither an archaic remnant nor a novel practice, prophecy in the eighteenth century was rooted both in the primitive worldview of the Old Testament and in the vibrant intellectual environment of the philosophers and their political allies, the republicans. In Doomsayers: Anglo-American Prophecy in the Age of Revolution, Susan Juster examines the culture of prophecy in Great Britain and the United States from 1765 to 1815 side by side with the intellectual and political transformations…


Book cover of Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands: The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans, 1812-1815

Donald R. Hickey Author Of Glorious Victory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans

From my list on understanding the Battle of New Orleans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning author and professor of history at Wayne State College in Nebraska. Called “the dean of 1812 scholarship” by the New Yorker, I’ve written eleven books and more than a hundred articles, mostly on the War of 1812 and its causes. I didn’t become interested in this battle until well into my academic career, when I decided to turn the series of articles on the War of 1812 that I had written into my first book. I quickly became fascinated by the cast of characters, headed by tough-as-nails Andrew Jackson; Baratarian pirate Jean Laffite; and the British commander, Sir Edward Pakenham, who was the Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law. No less intriguing was the magnitude of the U.S. victory and the British defeat, the profound and lasting legacy of the battle, and the many popular misconceptions about what actually happened in the battle or what might have happened had the British won.

Donald's book list on understanding the Battle of New Orleans

Donald R. Hickey Why did Donald love this book?

This traditional account of Jackson’s war against the Creeks and the British does a good job of tying together these two wars and showing how Jackson’s success in the first led seamlessly to his role in the second. A little dated but still rewarding.

By Frank Lawrence Owsley Jr.,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The books in the Florida and the Caribbean Open Books Series demonstrate the University Press of Florida's long history of publishing Latin American and Caribbean studies titles that connect in and through Florida, highlighting the connections between the Sunshine State and its neighboring islands. Books in this series show how early explorers found and settled Florida and the Caribbean. They tell the tales of early pioneers, both foreign and domestic. They examine topics critical to the area such as travel, migration, economic opportunity, and tourism. They look at the growth of Florida and the Caribbean and the attendant pressures on…


Book cover of And All Their Glory Past: Fort Erie, Plattsburgh, and the Final Battles in the North, 1814

Jonathon Riley Author Of A Matter of Honour: The Life, Campaigns and Generalship of Isaac Brock

From my list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served for 40 years in the British Army, including many tours of active duty. I commanded operations in every rank, from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General. I had the privilege of commanding not only British troops, but also troops from the USA, Canada, Australia, and more. I was Director-General and Master of the Royal Armouries and since 2013 I have been Visiting Professor in War Studies at King’s College London. I hold three degrees including a PhD. I've published more than 20 books and numerous articles. I continue to learn new things from history every day, as well as passing on our history to others, and that’s what books are all about.

Jonathon's book list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom

Jonathon Riley Why did Jonathon love this book?

This is the final book in Don Graves’s trilogy on the War of 1812, following Where Right and Glory Lead, and Field of Glory. Don is an eminent historian on the war and his research is impeccable. Just as important, he writes an engaging narrative with surprisingly vivid insights into the minds of men in battle. It is no surprise that his books have remained in print for many years. I have had the pleasure of Don’s friendship for almost 20 years and have tramped many of the battlefields with him – always enlightening, always enjoyable.

By Donald E. Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And All Their Glory Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

And All Their Glory Past


Book cover of Amateurs, to Arms!: A Military History of the War of 1812

David Fitz-Enz Author Of The Spy on Putney Bridge: A Mystery Novel of Espionage, Murder, and Betrayal in London

From my list on war and warriors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired Army Colonel, paratrooper, and aviator who served four tours in Vietnam as a platoon leader of combat photographers in the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade and later as a communication officer in the 1/10 Cavalry Squadron, 4th Infantry Division. Subsequently, I commanded six ties and operated the Moscow Hotline for three Presidents. On retirement, I lectured at the National Archives, Library of Congress, U.S. Naval Museum, and National Army Museum London England. I was also the guest lecturer at the Napoleonic fair, London. I conducted four one-hour television programs on my six books for C-Span Television and appeared on Fox News Network. I was awarded the Distinguished Book Prize from the US Army Historical Foundation and was granted the Military Order of Saint Louis by the Knights Templar, the priory of Saint Patrick, Manhattan, NY for contributions to Military Literature.

David's book list on war and warriors

David Fitz-Enz Why did David love this book?

I was given the opportunity to make a television program about the Battle of Plattsburgh /Lake Champlain. Amateurs to Arms proved out to the best source for research concerning the War of 1812. It was no wonder since Professor John Elting had also written the 1812 West Point Atlas. His book on the northern battlefields is groundbreaking. An infantry officer in Germany during WWII, his experience brought an understanding of men caught in hand-to-hand combat. As a result of my extensive research, John suggested that I write a companion book to the film. The Final Invasion, Plattsburgh, the war of 1812’s most decisive battle, won the Army Historical Foundation book prize and the endorsement of the US Army War College.

By John R. Elting,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amateurs, to Arms! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Begun in ignorance of the military reality, the War of 1812 was fought catch-as-catch-can with raw troops, incompetent officers, and appallingly inadequate logistics. The odds against the American fighting forces,woefully unrealistic preparations and expectations, British military might, a feckless Congress and administration, the treason of many citizens who fed and praised the enemy,were overwhelming. American soil was invaded along three frontiers, the national capital was occupied and burned, and the secession of the New England states loomed as a definite possibility. Amateurs, to Arms! examines in succession the campaigns of "Mr. Madison's War": the U.S. invasion of Canada the key…


Book cover of Don't Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812

Jonathon Riley Author Of A Matter of Honour: The Life, Campaigns and Generalship of Isaac Brock

From my list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I served for 40 years in the British Army, including many tours of active duty. I commanded operations in every rank, from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General. I had the privilege of commanding not only British troops, but also troops from the USA, Canada, Australia, and more. I was Director-General and Master of the Royal Armouries and since 2013 I have been Visiting Professor in War Studies at King’s College London. I hold three degrees including a PhD. I've published more than 20 books and numerous articles. I continue to learn new things from history every day, as well as passing on our history to others, and that’s what books are all about.

Jonathon's book list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom

Jonathon Riley Why did Jonathon love this book?

Don Hickey’s book separates fact from fiction – surely a laudable goal for any historian. But all too often, folklore and fairytale become established as truth and there can be no shaking it. Hickey has written five books and more than 50 articles on the War of 1812 and there are few more authoritative writers than him. I chose this one because it looks at so many aspects of the war: military and naval history, politics, diplomacy, economics, and trade. He includes the British, the Americans, the Canadians, the native and black people: men and women, soldiers and sailors, civilians, pirates, and spies. There is something in it for everyone and I for one could not put it down.

By Donald R. Hickey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Don't Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No longer willing to accept naval blockades, the impressment of American seamen, and seizures of American ships and cargos, the United States declared war on Great Britain. The aim was to frighten Britain into concessions and, if that failed, to bring the war to a swift conclusion with a quick strike at Canada. But the British refused to cave in to American demands, the Canadian campaign ended in disaster, and the U.S. government had to flee Washington, D.C., when it was invaded and burned by a British army.

By all objective measures, the War of 1812 was a debacle for…


Book cover of Mr. Madison's War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783-1830

Carl Benn Author Of A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton - Teyoninhokarawen

From my list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a history professor at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). Before becoming a full-time academic, I worked in the museum field for 34 years where much of my work occurred at Historic Fort York. It dates from 1793, but the site today mainly contains War of 1812 buildings and fortifications constructed between 1813 and 1815. During my time there, I developed the artefact collection, curated exhibits, and served as the historical expert in the re-restoration of the grounds and eight heritage structures (which included a 20-year archaeological project associated with the restoration work). Beyond my museum career, four of my books focus on the Anglo-American conflict of 1812-1815.

Carl's book list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library

Carl Benn Why did Carl love this book?

This study is by far the best single-volume history of the war. John Stagg is a prolific, American-based historian, known in particular for his leadership in editing the Papers of James Madison, the president who took his country to war with Great Britain in 1812. Dr. Stagg’s book covers all the important themes about the conflict, and, despite having been published in 1983, has not been superseded. Anyone wanting a strong, detailed, and complete study could not find a better option. 

Mr. Madison’s War is, however, a serious academic study, so some readers might find it “hard-going.” There are other one-volume studies of the conflict in print, but most of them strike me as being more than a little deficient. Two of the most accessible and reliable standard-length overviews for those unwilling to take on John Stagg are J.M. Hitsman’s The Incredible War of 1812, updated and edited by…

By John Charles Anderson Stagg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Description for this book, Mr. Madison's War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783-1830, will be forthcoming.


Book cover of Field of Glory: The Battle of Crysler's Farm, 1813

Carl Benn Author Of A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton - Teyoninhokarawen

From my list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a history professor at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). Before becoming a full-time academic, I worked in the museum field for 34 years where much of my work occurred at Historic Fort York. It dates from 1793, but the site today mainly contains War of 1812 buildings and fortifications constructed between 1813 and 1815. During my time there, I developed the artefact collection, curated exhibits, and served as the historical expert in the re-restoration of the grounds and eight heritage structures (which included a 20-year archaeological project associated with the restoration work). Beyond my museum career, four of my books focus on the Anglo-American conflict of 1812-1815.

Carl's book list on the War of 1812 for five-volume essential library

Carl Benn Why did Carl love this book?

The 1813 American campaign against Montreal posed the most dangerous threat to Canadian security during the war until it climaxed with British victories at Châteauguay and Crysler’s Farm. Oddly, it is not known as well as those that occurred on the Niagara Peninsula or in the territories surrounding the western end of Lake Erie. Field of Glory is a detailed and much appreciated narrative of that campaign. Any basic library of the war should include a least one comprehensive ground-level study of the fighting, and this book is one of the best of the genre, along with the other two that comprise Don Graves’s “Forgotten Soldiers Trilogy,” Where Right and Glory Lead! The Battle of Lundy’s Lane, 1814; and All Their Glory Past: Fort Erie, Plattsburgh, and the Final Battle of the North, 1814.

In contrast, a large percentage of other campaign histories tend to be written…

By Donald E. Graves,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the turning points in the War of 1812. In the fall of 1813 the largest army yet assembled by the United States invaded Canada, determined to capture Montreal. The courageous but ill-trained and badly led American forces were defeated by British, Canadian and native troops in two important encounters: the Battle of Chateuaguay and, above all, the Battle of Crysler's Farm, fought on a muddy field beside the St. Lawrence River.


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