100 books like The Unknown American Revolution

By Gary B. Nash,

Here are 100 books that The Unknown American Revolution fans have personally recommended if you like The Unknown American Revolution. 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 A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin

Ray Raphael Author Of Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past

From my list on deepening your view of the American Revolution.

Who am I?

When writing my first of my ten books on the Founding Era, A People’s History of the American Revolution, I came across an amazing uprising not celebrated in the traditional saga of our nation’s birth: the people of Massachusetts, everywhere outside of Boston, actually cast off British authority in 1774, the year before Lexington and Concord. How could this critical episode have been so neglected? Who’s the gatekeeper here, anyway? That’s when I began to explore how events of those times morphed into stories, and how those stories mask what actually happened—the theme of Founding Myths.  

Ray's book list on deepening your view of the American Revolution

Ray Raphael Why did Ray love this book?

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.

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.


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

Jack N. Rakove Author Of Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution

From my list on the Revolutionary War and why the British lost it.

Who am I?

I became a historian of the American Revolution back in the early 1970s and have been working on that subject ever since. Most of my writings pivot on national politics, the origins of the Constitution, and James Madison. But explaining why the Revolution occurred and why it took the course it did remain subjects that still fascinate me.

Jack's book list on the Revolutionary War and why the British lost it

Jack N. Rakove Why did Jack love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of The Wealth of Nations

Sylvana Tomaselli Author Of Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics

From my list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself.

Who am I?

I have had the privilege to teach the history of political theory from Plato to today for decades and to discuss texts such as the five I mentioned with very gifted students. No matter how often I return to such works, I always find something new in them and it is a pleasure to see how students learn to love reading for themselves what can be daunting works, once they overcome the fear of opening the great works and the initial challenge of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century prose.

Sylvana's book list on the eighteenth-century you should read for yourself

Sylvana Tomaselli Why did Sylvana love this book?

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.

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.


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

Tom Shachtman Author Of The Founding Fortunes: How the Wealthy Paid for and Profited from America's Revolution

From my list on lesser-known figures in the American Revolution and early years.

Who am I?

I’m Tom Shachtman, author of many nonfiction books about American and world history, including three on overlooked aspects of the Revolutionary War.  I believe that America’s Revolution belongs to all of us, native-born and immigrant, old and young, and it does so today just as much as it did a hundred and two hundred years ago; but too many myths have grown up about it, obscuring some of its most interesting people and aspects. My aim is to recover those people and aspects, and in writing about them to broaden our understanding of our common heritage.

Tom's book list on lesser-known figures in the American Revolution and early years

Tom Shachtman Why did Tom love this book?

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.

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…


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.

Who am I?

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

Jeffery McKenna Author Of Saving Dr. Warren... "A True Patriot"

From my list on for young adults on the American Revolution.

Who am I?

I have loved American history all my life. I thought I knew the events and key figures in the American Revolution. Then, in 2001, I learned about Dr. Joseph Warren. The more I learned, the more I wanted to tell his story. I travelled to Boston. I walked the Freedom Trail. I followed the red bricks that wind through historic Boston until they end at Bunker Hill. I saw the marble statue of Dr. Warren at Bunker Hill honoring his death. His influence and footprints are on every location along the Freedom Trail. My passion is to tell his story; my hope is that all Americans can remember his sacrifice.

Jeffery's book list on for young adults on the American Revolution

Jeffery McKenna Why did Jeffery love this book?

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…

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. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

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…


Book cover of Chains

Jeffery McKenna Author Of Saving Dr. Warren... "A True Patriot"

From my list on for young adults on the American Revolution.

Who am I?

I have loved American history all my life. I thought I knew the events and key figures in the American Revolution. Then, in 2001, I learned about Dr. Joseph Warren. The more I learned, the more I wanted to tell his story. I travelled to Boston. I walked the Freedom Trail. I followed the red bricks that wind through historic Boston until they end at Bunker Hill. I saw the marble statue of Dr. Warren at Bunker Hill honoring his death. His influence and footprints are on every location along the Freedom Trail. My passion is to tell his story; my hope is that all Americans can remember his sacrifice.

Jeffery's book list on for young adults on the American Revolution

Jeffery McKenna Why did Jeffery love this book?

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.  

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. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

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…


Book cover of Arundel

Max Byrd Author Of The Sixth Conspirator

From my list on American history that have become forgotten.

Who am I?

Schoolteacher turned writer. With the encouragement of my old college friend, the great Michael Crichton I began writing detective novels—paperback originals at first, then a hardback thriller called Target of Opportunity, which was a detective novel but included a long section of historical background about the Resistance in southern France. From there I moved to biographical fiction: novels about Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant. Then straight historical fiction, often with a Parisian background, because I’ve lived and worked in that marvelous city and can’t get enough of it.

Max's book list on American history that have become forgotten

Max Byrd Why did Max love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence

Robert Krenzel Author Of A Nest of Hornets

From my list on revolutionary reads.

Who am I?

While I grew up in New Jersey, the “Crossroads of the Revolution,” with a passion for history, I was ignorant to the amount of fighting that happened in my home state. My decision to write coincided with a renewed interest in the American Revolution: when I realized how many stories of the Revolution remained untold, the die was cast. My passion for history, love for soldiering, wartime experiences, and understanding of tactics and terrain came together to produce something special. Now I can often be found, map, compass, and notebook in hand, prowling a Revolutionary battlefield so I can better tell the story of those who were there.

Robert's book list on revolutionary reads

Robert Krenzel Why did Robert love this book?

When I speak to middle school classes, one of my themes is that while women rarely appear in history books or paintings about the American Revolution, except as victims, the Continental Army could not have functioned without the women who were part of the Army community. Revolutionary Mothers offers fascinating insights into how women shaped and influenced the war and its outcome. I found it of tremendous help in fleshing out the character of Ruth Munroe, Gideon Hawke’s partner and occasional savior.    

By Carol Berkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking history of the American Revolution that “vividly recounts Colonial women’s struggles for independence—for their nation and, sometimes, for themselves.... [Her] lively book reclaims a vital part of our political legacy" (Los Angeles Times Book Review).

The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this book, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict.

The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing the family business while struggling…


Book cover of To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments: The History of the First 100 Years of the War Against God and the Constitution, 1776 - 1876, and Its Modern Impact

C. D. Baker Author Of The List

From my list on the American Revolution.

Who am I?

Maybe I have a passion for this era because I live outside of Philadelphia, or maybe because so many of my ancestors served in Washington’s militia while others refused to serve. Either way, the connection to the times are personal. Having researched the tensions of my Mennonite past during the Revolution, I found myself intrigued by broader challenges of conscience for the Pennsylvania colonists more generally. Discovering the role it played in British occupied Philadelphia was particularly fascinating. My interest is in the untold story, and what I stumbled upon for this book was downright exciting!

C. D.'s book list on the American Revolution

C. D. Baker Why did C. D. love this book?

The author meticulously follows the globalist movement from its ideological beginnings around the same time as the American Revolution until today. Contrasting the intentions of the founders with the schemes of today’s elites serves to sharpen the reader’s appreciation of why America could be special. If half of this book is correct, we’ve lots to be concerned about.

By Arthur R. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To The Victor Go The Myths & Monuments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*This is the HARDCOVER version- not paperback!*


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