The best books about Virginia 📚

Browse the best books on Virginia as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia

Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia

By Kathleen M. Brown

Why this book?

A path-breaking study of Black and White women in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Virginia, this book shows what can be learned about the origins of slavery in the Chesapeake region from a focus on women--free, enslaved, and indentured alike. Life on early Chesapeake tobacco plantations was very different from the image of “classic,” semi-mythic nineteenth-century cotton plantations familiar to Americans today. Living conditions were crude, especially in the early settlements, and the demands of tobacco cultivation differed greatly from cotton production. Brown shows how all the women in early Virginia were critical to the colony’s  development.

From the list:

The best books about women in early America

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Notes on the State of Virginia

Notes on the State of Virginia

By Thomas Jefferson

Why this book?

Notes can feel unwelcoming to modern readers. There are jarring tangents and, more troublingly, dehumanizing descriptions of black people. But if you page around, you’ll learn a lot about Jefferson and his new nation. Notes also made a stunning impact, elevating America’s international standing and becoming a big controversy during Jefferson's presidential bids (the first campaign book!). It’s still a fascinating book to browse, and as a bonus, the Library of America edition also includes Jefferson’s brief attempt at writing an autobiography.
From the list:

The best books written by American presidents

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The House Girl

The House Girl

By Tara Conklin

Why this book?

Lu Ann Bell was a painter in the 1850s who became well known for painting servants. It was actually her housemaid that did the paintings. I liked how the story depicts a lawyer in 2004 that tries to help the housemaids' descendants get what is rightfully hers.

Our history is full of talented people that were taken advantage of because of their status or race. I loved the fact that there are still people today that are trying to right the wrongs of yesterday.

From the list:

The best historical fiction books written about lesser-known characters

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Flight and Rebellion: Slave Resistance in Eighteenth-Century Virginia

Flight and Rebellion: Slave Resistance in Eighteenth-Century Virginia

By Gerald W. Mullin

Why this book?

A classic, this book was one of the first to challenge prevailing white attitudes about the assimilation and acculturation of Africans and African Americans to life under slavery. Mullin describes how greater levels of assimilation translated into more effective means of protest.

From the list:

The best books about social justice (that you may not ever have heard about)

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Dandelion Seed

The Dandelion Seed

By Joseph Anthony, Cris Arbo

Why this book?

Through this book we get to follow the quiet adventures of a single dandelion seed as floats along the world. I love the variety of the settings in this book, and the subtle pace of rhythm in the text. Because of its calming text and illustrations, it’s a great book before bedtime.

From the list:

The best books for young nature lovers

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Invisible Woman

The Invisible Woman

By Erika Robuck

Why this book?

Virginia Hall is one woman whose stunning personal story ought to make her a household name. Robuck’s fascinating novel drops the reader into France in March of 1944, where the Nazis terrorize the population and American Special Ops leader Virginia Hall is doing all she can to subvert the occupiers and assist in the lead-up to D-Day. I barely breathed while reading this novel of one of the founding ladies of the CIA – and the best part of all? The story is true, and oh-so-inspiring. 

From the list:

The best books to prove that history is the furthest thing from boring

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 28 books about Virginia

New book lists about Virginia

All book lists about Virginia

Bookshelves related to Virginia

Browse books by…