100 books like Tyrannicide

By Emily Blanck, Paul Finkelman (editor), Timothy S. Huebner (editor)

Here are 100 books that Tyrannicide fans have personally recommended if you like Tyrannicide. 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 Chains

Benjamin L. Carp Author Of The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution

From my list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like thinking about the people who misbehaved in the 1700s. As a teenager, I was initially drawn to journalism as a medium for telling stories, but in college, I was entranced by the stories I could tell with early American sources. Years ago, Jan Lewis noted that many readers want “bedtime stories” about how great the American Revolution was, but there’s much more to the Revolution’s history. Now, I’m a history professor at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City of New York. Having lived in the Boston area and New York City, it’s been a thrill to write books about the American Revolution in both places.

Benjamin's book list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution

Benjamin L. Carp Why did Benjamin love this book?

I couldn’t put down the story of Isabel, a fictional Black teenager who lived through the American Revolution in New York City.

The book covers everything from the assassination plot against George Washington to the fire that burned much of the city in September 1776, along with the everyday injustices of eighteenth-century slavery. The book gives the reader a true feel for the Black experience in Revolutionary New York.

Each chapter starts with an excerpt from a real Revolutionary document. It’s geared at young adult readers, but this is not your grandmother’s Johnny Tremain. I loved this book and the remainder of the trilogy that followed it.

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors 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 The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution

Benjamin L. Carp Author Of The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution

From my list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like thinking about the people who misbehaved in the 1700s. As a teenager, I was initially drawn to journalism as a medium for telling stories, but in college, I was entranced by the stories I could tell with early American sources. Years ago, Jan Lewis noted that many readers want “bedtime stories” about how great the American Revolution was, but there’s much more to the Revolution’s history. Now, I’m a history professor at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City of New York. Having lived in the Boston area and New York City, it’s been a thrill to write books about the American Revolution in both places.

Benjamin's book list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution

Benjamin L. Carp Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book made me want to dedicate my life to studying the American Revolution.

Alfred F. Young tells the story of George Robert Twelves Hewes, a poor, diminutive shoemaker who was at the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. He also touched off a riot that led to a man being tarred and feathered. Hewes spent his whole life as a poor man, but he briefly became a celebrity in his old age. Young uses this fleeting moment of fame to explore how Americans sanitized and distorted the memory of the American Revolution.

This book inspired me to study the American Revolution in the cities, and the forgotten, sometimes violent ways that radicals pushed for greater equality.

By Alfred F. Young,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

George Robert Twelves Hewes, a Boston shoemaker who participated in such key events of the American Revolution as the Boston Massacre and the Tea Party, might have been lost to history if not for his longevity and the historical mood of the 1830's. When the Tea Party became a leading symbol of the Revolutionary ear fifty years after the actual event, this 'common man' in his nineties was 'discovered' and celebrated in Boston as a national hero. Young pieces together this extraordinary tale, adding new insights about the role that individual and collective memory play in shaping our understanding of…


Book cover of The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities

Benjamin L. Carp Author Of The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution

From my list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like thinking about the people who misbehaved in the 1700s. As a teenager, I was initially drawn to journalism as a medium for telling stories, but in college, I was entranced by the stories I could tell with early American sources. Years ago, Jan Lewis noted that many readers want “bedtime stories” about how great the American Revolution was, but there’s much more to the Revolution’s history. Now, I’m a history professor at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City of New York. Having lived in the Boston area and New York City, it’s been a thrill to write books about the American Revolution in both places.

Benjamin's book list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution

Benjamin L. Carp Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book opened my eyes to indigenous Americans’ experience of the Revolutionary War. Heavy on detail, it’s not for the faint of heart. Each chapter focuses on one North American community at a time, from various spots on the map, and shows the many different ways that Native people responded to the upheavals of the American Revolution.

Calloway went on to write several other great books, and other authors have since expanded our understanding of Native peoples’ history, but this was my first, and it’s a great place to start. 

By Colin G. Calloway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This study presents a broad coverage of Indian experiences in the American Revolution rather than Indian participation as allies or enemies of contending parties. Colin Calloway focuses on eight Indian communities as he explores how the Revolution often translated into war among Indians and their own struggles for independence. Drawing on British, American, Canadian and Spanish records, Calloway shows how Native Americans pursued different strategies, endured a variety of experiences, but were bequeathed a common legacy as result of the Revolution.


Book cover of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party

Benjamin L. Carp Author Of The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution

From my list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like thinking about the people who misbehaved in the 1700s. As a teenager, I was initially drawn to journalism as a medium for telling stories, but in college, I was entranced by the stories I could tell with early American sources. Years ago, Jan Lewis noted that many readers want “bedtime stories” about how great the American Revolution was, but there’s much more to the Revolution’s history. Now, I’m a history professor at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City of New York. Having lived in the Boston area and New York City, it’s been a thrill to write books about the American Revolution in both places.

Benjamin's book list on books that get beyond the “bedtime story” of the American Revolution

Benjamin L. Carp Why did Benjamin love this book?

I went into this book cold, knowing nothing about it beforehand, and it left a powerful, thrilling impression. I almost don’t want to say anything else about it so that other readers can experience the same suspense.

Readers might know Anderson from Feed or his other quirky genre-bending books. This book, the first of two volumes, is a work of historical fiction set mostly in Boston. It uses eighteenth-century language to tell an epic tale about the American Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the dark side of both.

It’s a book of horror (perhaps even anticipating the movie Get Out), with intricate details that will delight a certain kind of reader.

By M. T. Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Anderson’s imaginative and highly intelligent exploration of . . . the ambiguous history of America’s origins will leave readers impatient for the sequel. — The New York Times Book Review

Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers — but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role them. Set in Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson’s mesmerizing novel takes place at a time when Patriots battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for…


Book cover of A Hard Fight for We: Women's Transition from Slavery to Freedom in South Carolina

Lee Ann Timreck Author Of Pieces of Freedom: The Emancipation Sculptures of Edmonia Lewis and Meta Warrick Fuller

From my list on the activism of African American women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm fascinated with material culture – studying the things we make and use – and what they tell us about our history. My particular passion is for nineteenth-century Black material culture, often the only tangible history of enslaved and newly-emancipated Black lives. The books on my list educated me of the historical realities for African Americans, from emancipation to Jim Crow – providing critical context for deciphering the stories embedded in historical artifacts. Overall, the gendered (and harrowing) history these books provide on the contributions of African-American women to civil rights and social justice should be required reading for everyone. 

Lee's book list on the activism of African American women

Lee Ann Timreck Why did Lee love this book?

“Slave women’s transition to freedom, while deeply desired, prayed for, and actively pursued, was a treacherous and ambiguous process.” With these words, Leslie Schwalm goes on to detail the activist role Black women played in securing emancipation and shaping a different future for themselves and their families, from slavery to freedom. 

Schwalm uses oral narratives to capture their experiences before, during, and after the Civil War, and examines how social, racial, and political realities influenced the lives of Black women. This book is a must read on how African American women continuously challenged the barriers to free labor, family autonomy, and legal rights, in their quest to “define and defend freedom”.

By Leslie A. Schwalm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Hard Fight for We as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

African-American women fought for their freedom with courage and vigor during and after the Civil War. Leslie Schwalm explores the vital roles of enslaved and formerly enslaved women on the rice plantations of lowcountry South Carolina, both in antebellum plantation life and in the wartime collapse of slavery. From there, she chronicles their efforts as freedwomen to recover from the impact of the war while redefining their lives and labor.

Freedwomen asserted their own ideas of what freedom meant and insisted on important changes in the work they performed both for white employers and in their own homes. As Schwalm…


Trouble The Water

By Rebecca Dwight Bruff,

Book cover of Trouble The Water

Henry G. Brinton Author Of War Bug

From my list on civil war novels and histories on global tensions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am saddened and frustrated by polarization in American life today, and I believe that the Civil War has lessons to teach us about how we can avoid deeper divisions in our country. I grew up in Maryland, a border state, and have relatives that fought for the North, as well as relatives who fought for the South. In addition, I have Quaker ancestors who hated slavery and supported the Union, but who would not fight because they were pacifists. I am passionate about understanding the tensions that have always run through American life, and want to explore the topic deeply in my reading and writing. 

Henry's book list on civil war novels and histories on global tensions

Henry G. Brinton Why did Henry love this book?

I love that the author introduced me to Robert Smalls, whose story has rarely been told. An enslaved man in South Carolina, he stole a Confederate ship and sailed to freedom, later becoming a member of the US Congress.

I was angry that I had never known about Smalls, and this book has turned me into an evangelist for him. The author’s choice to tell his story in the first person was a risky move, but it paid off beautifully, allowing me to enter deeply into the life of a truly great man.

Trouble The Water

By Rebecca Dwight Bruff,

What is this book about?

"Before this decisive night, I’d not fully appreciated the subtle line between inspiration and insanity. But now, with all our lives at risk, I found myself navigating that most perilous edge . . . "

Inspired by the life of an unsung American hero and slave, Trouble the Water navigates the rich tributaries of courage, betrayal, and redemption. In his inspiring journey, Robert Smalls witnesses great privilege and suffering alongside his owner’s daughter and the dangerous son of a firebrand secessionist. At the age of twelve, he’s sent to work in Charleston, where he loads ships and learns to pilot…


Book cover of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

John M. Giggie Author Of Bloody Tuesday: The Untold Story of the Struggle for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa

From my list on how we unlock secrets about the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent the last eleven years listening to people describe the worst day of their lives and how they found the grace and courage to persevere. Little in my professional training as a historian prepared me to sit with them and help them make sense of their past. Each of these books offers pathways to recapturing a violent past and imagining how we keep living. 

John's book list on how we unlock secrets about the past

John M. Giggie Why did John love this book?

Miles made me demand more of history. She writes a fascinating tale of love and belonging based on sources outside formal archives.

The book warns us about the dangers of blindly accepting traditional ways of writing history. It reminds us that we must seek new approaches to representing the past if we ever hope to tell broader, more truthful stories.   

By Tiya Miles,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All That She Carried as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * WINNER OF THE CUNDILL HISTORY PRIZE

'A remarkable book' - Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
'A brilliant exercise in historical excavation and recovery' - Annette Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello
'A history told with brilliance and tenderness and fearlessness' - Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States

In 1850s South Carolina, Rose, an enslaved woman, faced a crisis: the imminent sale of her daughter Ashley. Thinking quickly, she packed a cotton bag with a few items. Soon after, the nine-year-old girl was…


Book cover of The Indigo Girl

Megan Easley-Walsh Author Of What Edward Heard

From my list on historical fiction with strong women by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I became an author of ten historical fiction novels (thus far), I was a reader of historical fiction. The challenges of history are best navigated by strong characters. Throughout history, women have played an integral role but have been overlooked too often. Historical fiction with strong women brings these characters to life, giving them a voice and agency. Whatever role the woman has, from nurse to investigator to planter to maid to scientist to artist and more… interesting characters are necessary to activate an engaging plot, and that is something I look for both as a reader and as an author.

Megan's book list on historical fiction with strong women by women

Megan Easley-Walsh Why did Megan love this book?

Sometimes strength, particularly for women in history, has been quieter. The colonial early American setting of The Indigo Girl echoed part of the painting’s story from my book as well. In The Indigo Girl, Eliza is willing to speak up, to do what is right, even when it’s the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. As a huge art history fan, and as a hobbyist painter, I am always interested in learning more about where pigments and colors come from. This story told about that, but it also explored forbidden friendship and love and touched the heart, leaving a stain of remembrance, deeper than the indigo itself. 

By Natasha Boyd,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Indigo Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this incredible story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial South Carolina defies all expectations to achieve her dream.

An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family's three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to…


Book cover of Forge

Jean C. O'Connor Author Of The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution

From my list on bringing to life the American Revolutionary War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in New England, I discovered a passion for the historical landmarks around me. My grandmother’s home in Andover, MA, had a plaque on the front door, declaring Lafayette made a speech from its front steps. In my grandmother’s journal, I discovered the story of the Lovells: Master John Lovell, Loyalist, of the Boston Latin School, and his son James Lovell, teacher at the school and patriot. Imagining the conflicts that must have brewed between them, I knew I had to write The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution. An English and history teacher, I wove historical background into study of literature.

Jean's book list on bringing to life the American Revolutionary War

Jean C. O'Connor Why did Jean love this book?

Laurie Halse Anderson masterfully helps us see the dilemmas of those who endured the Revolutionary years, from a young runaway slave to soldiers at General Washington’s winter camp at Valley Forge. For younger readers, Forge gives the experience of surviving the bitter cold and hunger of the winter camp for both the fearful runaway slave, Curzon, posing as a freedman and soldier in Washington’s army, and his friend Isabel. You can feel the cold seeping into your rag-bound feet and taste the sand in your rock-baked flatbread, hunger pangs tormenting you as you read.

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forge 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?

“One of the best novels they have ever read.” —Kirkus Reviews

Curzon navigates the dangers of being a runaway slave in this keenly felt second novel in in the historical middle grade The Seeds of America trilogy from acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson.

Blistering winds. Bitter cold. And the hope of a new future.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped…


Book cover of Someone Knows My Name

Helen Lundström Erwin Author Of Sour Milk in Sheep's Wool

From my list on historical fiction on women who changed history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to write stories about people who lived during pivotal times in history. I’m intrigued by what people were thinking and why they thought that way. People, just like us now, were a product of their time and circumstance. They had strong opinions about the issues of the day, and debated fiercely. It’s these conversations and opinions that help me make the past come alive. Being born and raised in Sweden, and having been a New Yorker for thirty years, I was awarded the 2021 Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) New York’s Scholarship for the artistic promotion of Swedish culture and history in New York.

Helen's book list on historical fiction on women who changed history

Helen Lundström Erwin Why did Helen love this book?

Someone Knows My Name, is a poignant portrayal of the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the inhuman strength and perseverance of a woman who survived it.

As a writer and historian, I love when I find a writer who can put themselves inside the mind of a person from an earlier time. Lawrence Hill truly does, especially the way he describes how alien the new world was for someone who came from a different culture. How every detail is new, and how heart-wrenching it is to be torn from everything you know. 

By Lawrence Hill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Someone Knows My Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kidnapped from Africa as a child, Aminata Diallo is enslaved in South Carolina but escapes during the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan she becomes a scribe for the British, recording the names of blacks who have served the King and earned their freedom in Nova Scotia. But the hardship and prejudice of the new colony prompt her to follow her heart back to Africa, then on to London, where she bears witness to the injustices of slavery and its toll on her life and a whole people. It is a story that no listener, and no reader, will…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in slaves, South Carolina, and the American Revolution?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about slaves, South Carolina, and the American Revolution.

Slaves Explore 104 books about slaves
South Carolina Explore 47 books about South Carolina
The American Revolution Explore 237 books about the American Revolution