10 books like The Unknown American Revolution

By Gary B. Nash,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Unknown American Revolution. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier

By Joseph Plumb Martin,

Book cover of A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin

If, perchance, you have yet to encounter Private Joseph Plumb Martin’s classic memoir, stop right now and get hold of a copy. With wit, charm, and telling detail, this common soldier from the Continental Army will take you on a personal journey through the Revolutionary War. Lest we forget, “history” is composed of individual experiences, and JPMs are memorable. “Great men get great praise; little men, nothing,” he wrote. “It always was so and always will be.” No, not always. This “little man” earns praise not only for himself, but for all those men and boys who put their lives on the line in the Revolutionary War.

A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier

By Joseph Plumb Martin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a new afterword by William Chad Stanley

Here a private in the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War narrates his adventures in the army of a newborn country.


The Men Who Lost America

By Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy,

Book cover of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire

The vast majority of books on the Revolutionary War are written by Americans, and they predictably focus on the conflict from the Patriot side. But throughout the war, the strategic initiative rested with Britain, not the United States. Through a series of brilliant biographical chapters, O’Shaughnessy traces the history of the war and the evolution of British strategy, and its ultimate failure, from the imperial side.

The Men Who Lost America

By Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Men Who Lost America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they? This intriguing book makes a different argument. Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O'Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory. In interlinked biographical chapters, the author follows the course of the war from the perspectives of King George…


The Wealth of Nations

By Adam Smith,

Book cover of The Wealth of Nations

Even though Adam Smith is often said to be the father of all that is good or bad about capitalism very few people have read his famous Wealth of Nations. Why? Well, 1) they think they already know what’s in it: no government intervention in the economy, thank you. 2) It is two volumes. 3) It must be very dreary because it is about economics, and 4) they are not good at economics or math.  

But read it for yourself, and you will find that it is readable, nuanced, and you can skip the bits that you can’t make out, enjoy the examples, and decide for yourself what he actually argued and whether you agree with it or not.

The Wealth of Nations

By Adam Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world's first collected descriptions of what builds nations' wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets.


Jefferson's Treasure

By Gregory May,

Book cover of Jefferson's Treasure: How Albert Gallatin Saved the New Nation from Debt

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and their secretary of the treasury, Albert Gallatin, did as much as Alexander Hamilton to create the unique blend of capitalism and democracy that is the United States of America – a story that more Americans ought to know.

Jefferson's Treasure

By Gregory May,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WALL STREET JOURNAL review: "One of Mr. May's strengths is his ability to convey a vivid sense of the times. When Britain attacked the U.S. naval frigate Chesapeake in 1807, Gallatin received a message from Jefferson bidding him to come in haste. 'If you arrive before half after three, come and take a family dinner with me,' Jefferson pleaded, a poignant reminder that, in Jefferson's time, official duties set with the sun... [May] credits Gallatin with ushering in an era of official frugality and mourns that we have "lost sight of the pragmatic, liberal republicanism he practiced"

George Washington had…


American Slavery, American Freedom

By Edmund S. Morgan,

Book cover of American Slavery, American Freedom

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.

American Slavery, American Freedom

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…


Chains

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Book cover of Chains

Chains tells the story of the enslaved during a revolution for independence. The irony of the enslaved risking their well-being for a new nation whose founding and ideals fell short of granting all men and all women “certain inalienable rights,” is not missed in these pages. In fact, it is masterfully delivered for all readers – young and old. Anderson is a master weaver. She beautifully threads stunning strands of real history within the tapestry of her modern classic. Most Americans are not aware that the mayor and other leaders of New York nearly succeeded in ending the rebellion against their King. In the late spring of 1776, a plan formed to assassinate General Washington. Anderson weaves the intrigue of the assassination with the role that an enslaved girl could have had in squashing it - effectively saving the American revolution.  

Chains

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Isabel and her sister, Ruth, are slaves. Sold from one owner to the next, they arrive in New York as the Americans are fighting for their independence, and the English are struggling to maintain control. Soon Isabel is struggling too. Struggling to keep herself and her sister safe in a world in which they have no control. With a rare and compelling voice, this haunting novel tells not only the story of a remarkable girl and her incredible strength, but also of a time and place in which slavery was the order of the day and lives were valued like…


Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge

By Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Kathleen Van Cleve,

Book cover of Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away

I love to find “hidden gems” in history. Ona Judge is a gem. First published in 2017, Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge is a biography that reads like an engaging novel. It depicts the life of George and Martha Washington’s young enslaved girl that grows to a young woman in the shadows of the most powerful couple in our new nation. At age 16, Ona leaves Mount Vernon to accompany President Washington and Martha while they live in New York and then Philadelphia. She is treated splendidly, but she is still property. This terrible truth crashes upon Ona when Martha, wanting to give the absolute best gift she can to her difficult, disagreeable, and stubborn granddaughter, decides to give her Ona – her most cherished possession, as a wedding gift. Rather than be property to be gifted and given, Ona escapes. This book shows how President…

Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge

By Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Kathleen Van Cleve,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A brilliant work of US history." -School Library Journal (starred review)
"Gripping." -BCCB (starred review)
"Accessible...Necessary." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction, Never Caught is the eye-opening narrative of Ona Judge, George and Martha Washington's runaway slave, who risked everything for a better life-now available as a young reader's edition!

In this incredible narrative, Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons when they were the First Family-and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation's Founding Fathers.

Born into a…


Arundel

By Kenneth Roberts,

Book cover of Arundel

Roberts wrote many better-known novels—e.g. Northwest Passage and Rabble in Arms. Few people remember this wonderful adventure, which takes young Steven Nason on Benedict Arnold’s doomed expedition up the Kennebec River to assault Quebec. (Arundel is a town in southern Maine.) Exuberant writing, great historical detail, and a wonderful depiction of New England Indian life. A classic.

Arundel

By Kenneth Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the classic series from Pulitzer Prize-winning historical novelist Kenneth Roberts, all featuring characters from the town of Arundel, Maine. Arundel follows Steven Nason as he joins Benedict Arnold in his march to Quebec during the American Revolution.


1774

By Mary Beth Norton,

Book cover of 1774: The Long Year of Revolution

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. 

1774

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…


Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride

By Marsha Amstel, Ellen Beier (illustrator),

Book cover of Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride

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.

Sybil Ludington's Midnight Ride

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.

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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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