100 books like The Last American Puritan

By Michael G. Hall,

Here are 100 books that The Last American Puritan fans have personally recommended if you like The Last American Puritan. 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 American Slavery, American Freedom

Leonard L. Richards Author Of The Slave Power: The Free North and Southern Domination, 1780--1860

From my list on why slaveholders once dominated American politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm now retired. But like many historians of my generation, I've been lucky. Having gone to the University of California when there was no tuition and got through graduate school thanks to the GI Bill, I then taught history for five decades, briefly at San Francisco State College and the University of Hawaii, and for a long stretch at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. During those years, I wrote eight books, one was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1987, and three won prizes—the Albert J. Beverage Award in 1970, the second-place Lincoln Prize in 2001, and the Langum Trust Prize in 2015. All but one deal with slavery and power.

Leonard's book list on why slaveholders once dominated American politics

Leonard L. Richards Why did Leonard love this book?

How did the Virginia slaveholders somehow become the most celebrated spokesmen for “liberty” and “equality” in the Revolutionary Era even though they all owned hundreds of slaves? Morgan contends that to understand this paradox one has to go back to 17th-century colonial Virginia where American slavery and American freedom emerged together. Moreover, argues Morgan, those days not only had a profound effect on the American Revolution and the Early Republic, but on everything that has happened since.

By Edmund S. Morgan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the American Revolution, Virginians were the most eloquent spokesmen for freedom and quality. George Washington led the Americans in battle against British oppression. Thomas Jefferson led them in declaring independence. Virginians drafted not only the Declaration but also the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; they were elected to the presidency of the United States under that Constitution for thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of its existence. They were all slaveholders. In the new preface Edmund S. Morgan writes: "Human relations among us still suffer from the former enslavement of a large portion of our predecessors. The freedom…


Book cover of Prospero's America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Author Of Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England

From my list on seventeenth-century America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jenny Hale Pulsipher is a professor of history at Brigham Young University and the author of numerous articles and two award-winning books, Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest of Authority in Early New England and Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England.

Jenny's book list on seventeenth-century America

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Why did Jenny love this book?

Woodward's biographical approach, and his good fortune in finding a subject who left so much material to peruse, allows readers to come to know early New England in rich detail. Winthrop was a man of wide interests, including alchemy, religion, and medicine, and he used his knowledge to contribute to the physical well being of his neighbors (Native and colonist alike), to steer the Connecticut Colony through political challenges, and to participate in trans-Atlantic scientific exploration. A fascinating read.

By Walter W. Woodward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Prospero's America, Walter W. Woodward examines the transfer of alchemical culture to America by John Winthrop, Jr., one of English colonisation's early giants. Winthrop participated in a pan-European network of natural philosophers who believed alchemy could improve the human condition and hasten Christ's Second Coming. Woodward demonstrates the influence of Winthrop and his philosophy on New England's cultural formation: its settlement, economy, religious toleration, Indian relations, medical practice, witchcraft prosecution, and imperial diplomacy. Prospero's America reconceptualises the significance of early modern science in shaping New England hand-in-hand with Puritanism and politics.

Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American…


Book cover of Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Author Of Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England

From my list on seventeenth-century America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jenny Hale Pulsipher is a professor of history at Brigham Young University and the author of numerous articles and two award-winning books, Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest of Authority in Early New England and Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England.

Jenny's book list on seventeenth-century America

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Why did Jenny love this book?

Ulrich, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for A Midwife's Tale, first wrote this ground-breaking study of women in early New England. With her characteristically elegant prose and inspired organization, she details the varied roles women played in family, community, and religious life. An illuminating work, and a page-turner.

By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This enthralling work of scholarship strips away abstractions to reveal the hidden--and not always stoic--face of the "goodwives" of colonial America. In these pages we encounter the awesome burdens--and the considerable power--of a New England housewife's domestic life and witness her occasional forays into the world of men. We see her borrowing from her neighbors, loving her husband, raising--and, all too often, mourning--her children, and even attaining fame as a heroine of frontier conflicts or notoriety as a murderess. Painstakingly researched, lively with scandal and homely detail, Good Wives is history at its best.


Book cover of Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Author Of Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England

From my list on seventeenth-century America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jenny Hale Pulsipher is a professor of history at Brigham Young University and the author of numerous articles and two award-winning books, Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest of Authority in Early New England and Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England.

Jenny's book list on seventeenth-century America

Jenny Hale Pulsipher Why did Jenny love this book?

In Facing East, Richter uses both historical research and imagination to shift the perspective on early America from the west-facing European view to the east-facing Native American one. The result is a deeply researched, well written, and surprisingly moving book exploring a series of Native lives (Pocahontas, King Philip, Kateri Tekakwitha), events (Christian Indian missions, King Philip's War, the French and Indian War), and subjects (Native American trade, religion, the expansion of the English Empire).

By Daniel K. Richter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Facing East from Indian Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the beginning, North America was Indian country. But only in the beginning. After the opening act of the great national drama, Native Americans yielded to the westward rush of European settlers.

Or so the story usually goes. Yet, for three centuries after Columbus, Native people controlled most of eastern North America and profoundly shaped its destiny. In Facing East from Indian Country, Daniel K. Richter keeps Native people center-stage throughout the story of the origins of the United States.

Viewed from Indian country, the sixteenth century was an era in which Native people discovered Europeans and struggled to make…


Book cover of The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Jo Schaffer Layton Author Of Badlands

From my list on characters who go through hell, survive, and also find love.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books that entertain and uplift when characters learn and overcome. As a teenager, things happened that threw me into a painful tailspin, ending in a wilderness program for troubled kids. It taught me that I can do hard things and face challenges in life. I’ve lost loved ones, have a special needs child, divorced, been broke, earned my black belt, returned to school as a single mom for a degree, and co-founded a nonprofit to support literacy for kids. None of that was easy, but it increased my compassion and hope. Stories can be powerful reminders of human resilience, and that battle scars make someone more beautiful than before.

Jo's book list on characters who go through hell, survive, and also find love

Jo Schaffer Layton Why did Jo love this book?

I first read this book as a kid, and it’s one of the reasons I became an avid reader. It's set in Puritan New England and features romance, intrigue, and suspense. It has great historical detail, a fun story, and well-written characters.

The protagonist, 16-year-old Kit from Barbados, arrives in the harsh world of early colonial Connecticut and doesn’t fit in—and society punishes her for it! I found myself angry and outraged for her–I just wanted everything to be fair. This story is a light-handed look at how life isn’t fair. Frustration comes from expecting or demanding it to be. There will always be circumstances and people making things difficult. Can it be endured? Yes!

I love the main characters, Kit and Nat (the son of the boat Captain who brought Kit to the colonies). They are cute together. This is still one of my favorite books.

By Elizabeth George Speare,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Witch of Blackbird Pond as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In this Newbery Medal-winning novel, a girl faces prejudice and accusations of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Connecticut. A classic of historical fiction that continues to resonate across the generations.

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met.

Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when…


Book cover of Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America's First Published Poet

Benjamin Giroux Author Of I Am Odd, I Am New

From my list on debut children's books of 2021.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure to work with amazing authors who, like me, have debut children's books that were released in 2021. These books range in topics, from overcoming your fears to transgender to history, to cute rats that will let your imagination run wild. Being a kid myself, my parents read every night to me. These are books that like mine, are filled with representation that was lacking in those books that were read to me.

Benjamin's book list on debut children's books of 2021

Benjamin Giroux Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book, that has an amazing feeling cover, tells an important part of not only American history, but more importantly, women's history. This story is beautifully illustrated using a great color pallet. Follow along on Anne’s journey to the new world and how she changed that world forever!

By Katie Munday Williams, Tania Rex (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

The inspiring story of a Puritan woman whose passion for writing poetry broke barriers.

Late at night, with her children tucked into bed and her husband away on business, Anne Dudley Bradstreet composed poems by candlelight. She let her thoughts from the day tumble out, memorizing each poem line by line before daring to shape the words onto scraps of scarce parchment. Puritan women in the 1600s weren't allowed to be writers. But when the world learned about Anne's poetry, even she was astonished by what happened next.

This charmingly illustrated picture book tells the inspiring story of how a…


Book cover of Hour of the Witch

Ellen Baker Author Of The Hidden Life of Cecily Larson

From my list on books with quirky, strong women at their heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved reading novels about strong, quirky women since childhood (Nancy Drew, Ramona Quimby, Harriet the Spy, the heroines of Judy Blume novels, just for starting examples!). As I grew into writing my own stories, I also started studying women’s history. I merged these two interests to begin writing historical novels with strong women protagonists. I love the challenge of researching to figure out the details of women’s day-to-day lives–so many unrecorded stories!–and I love to advocate for the idea (fortunately not as revolutionary as it once was) that a woman can be the hero of her own story and that each woman’s story is important to tell.  

Ellen's book list on books with quirky, strong women at their heart

Ellen Baker Why did Ellen love this book?

I loved this book for being historical fiction at its finest, and I loved the main character, Mary Deerfield, for being a woman who did not fit within her own time.

It’s 1660s Boston, and Mary is married to an abusive man. Determined not to die at his hand, she must fight against everything in her society to free herself from her marriage.

I loved how this book so insightfully explored the dynamics of an abusive relationship while also bringing to vivid life a distant time and place. 

By Chris Bohjalian,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Hour of the Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the acclaimed author of The Flight Attendant: “Historical fiction at its best…. The book is a thriller in structure, and a real page-turner, the ending both unexpected and satisfying” (Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series, The Washington Post).

A young Puritan woman—faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul—plots her escape from a violent marriage in this riveting and propulsive novel of historical suspense.

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But…


Book cover of Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy Author Of Tall, Dark, and Cherokee

From my list on Native American romantic suspense.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lifelong history lover. I was the kid who hung around the feet of the elders, listening to their stories and learning about the past. That led to a deep interest in tracing family history, which has been a passion since about the age of ten. I still can get lost for hours finding ancestors or reading about their lives. That interest led me to a double major in college and I earned a Bachelor of Arts in both history and English with a two-year degree in journalism. I live a short distance from Oklahoma and one of my favorite pastimes is to go to powwows whenever possible.

Lee's book list on Native American romantic suspense

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy Why did Lee love this book?

This is based on an actual captive woman in the early Colonial years. Since the topic was the subject of my thesis (Captive Or Captivated) I was enthralled in the way that the author brought the true story to life as fiction. Great historical accuracy and detail as well as a story sure to be remembered for a very long time.

By Amy Belding Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of Emily's House comes a “compelling, emotionally gripping”* novel of historical fiction—perfect for readers of America’s First Daughter.

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people.

Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected…


Book cover of Bound

Tracy Lawson Author Of Answering Liberty's Call

From my list on featuring strong women in 18th century America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by American history and have clear memories of celebrating America’s bicentennial as a child. I have twenty-two Revolutionary Patriots in my family history, and I am most proud of my 6x-great grandmother, Anna Asbury Stone, for her bravery and daring during the winter of 1778. I did extensive genealogical research to learn about her, her family, and her circumstances before writing Answering Liberty’s Call: Anna Stone’s Daring Ride to Valley Forge.

Tracy's book list on featuring strong women in 18th century America

Tracy Lawson Why did Tracy love this book?

Bound is set in the years prior to the American Revolution, and highlights the difficulties faced by girls and women indentured servants. Alice and her family set out for America from England, but when her mother and brothers die during the voyage, Alice’s father decides he cannot keep her and sells her as an indentured servant upon reaching Boston. Alice should have had a middle-class upbringing, but instead, she becomes chattel. The scenes of abuse in this book are stark, but it helps to shed light on the sufferings of the disenfranchised and the helpless. Alice’s determination will inspire.

By Sally Cabot Gunning,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An indentured servant finds herself bound by law, society, and her own heart in this novel set in colonial Cape Cod from the author of acclaimed The Widow’s War.

Indentured servant Alice Cole barely remembers when she was not “bound”, first to the Morton family, then to their daughter Nabby—her companion since childhood—when she wed. But Nabby’s new marriage is not happy, and when Alice finds herself torn between her new master and her old friend, she runs away to Boston. There she meets a sympathetic widow named Lyddie Berry and her lawyer companion, Eben Freeman. Impulsively stowing away on…


Book cover of Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts

Malcolm Gaskill Author Of The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World

From my list on witch hunting in Colonial America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I taught history for many years at several UK universities, and I was the Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge. I am the author of six books, including Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches and Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction. His latest book, The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World, will be published in November by Penguin. I live in Cambridge, England, and I am married with three children.

Malcolm's book list on witch hunting in Colonial America

Malcolm Gaskill Why did Malcolm love this book?

This is another sociologically inflected study, which broadens the context of belief behind witchcraft accusations. Like all the best work of the last forty years, it helps us to grasp the internal logic of witch-beliefs in the minds of intelligent and actually very sophisticated people, rather than falling back on the old chestnuts of hysteria, prejudice and the madness of crowds.

Weisman constantly reminds us that a supposed superstitious consensus (in contrast to the sceptical consensus of the modern world) simply didn’t exist. So much of the furious energy of thinking about witches was generated by disagreement and doubt. We’re also presented with conflicting and complementary opinions about witches, both from below in the neighbourhood, and from above among ministers and magistrates. In the end, as Weisman points out, however enduring beliefs about witchcraft may have been, as a crime it could not survive condemnation of the proofs, including so-called…

By Richard Weisman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Salem witchcraft persecutions are one of the most well-known events in history, but there is more to the story. In this book, Weisman explores the social, political, and religious implications of witchcraft. He ventures outside of the usual studies of the Salem trials to provide a comprehensive understanding of 17th-century Massachusetts witchcraft as a whole. In the first section, an attempt is made to explicate the logic and meaning of the two major interpretive frameworks of witchcraft in terms of which the category was understood by inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay. The second and third sections of this study deal…


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Interested in Colonial America, the Puritans, and Massachusetts?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Colonial America, the Puritans, and Massachusetts.

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