American Revolution Reading List

revolution photo

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts.

Click on the titles to visit the library catalog, place holds, and view availability.

index.phpThe American Revolution for kids : a history with 21 activities / Janis Herbert Heroes, traitors, and great thinkers come to life in this activity book, and the concepts of freedom and democracy are celebrated in true accounts of the distinguished officers, wise delegates, rugged riflemen, and hardworking farm wives and children who created the new nation.

a people's historyA people’s history of the American Revolution : how common people shaped the fight for independence / Ray Raphael.  The first major effort to tell the history of the American Revolution from the often overlooked standpoints of its everyday participants, A People’s History of the American Revolution is a highly accessible narrative of the wartime experience that brings in the stories of previously marginalized voices: the common people, slave and free, who made up the majority in eighteenth-century America.



the martyr and the traitorThe martyr and the traitor : Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution / Virginia DeJohn Anderson.  In September 1776, two men from Connecticut each embarked on a dangerous mission. One of the men, a soldier disguised as a schoolmaster, made his way to British-controlled Manhattan and began furtively making notes and sketches to bring back to the beleaguered Continental Army general, George Washington. The other man traveled to New York to accept a captain’s commission in a loyalist regiment before returning home to recruit others to join British forces. Neither man completed his mission. Both met their deaths at the end of a hangman’s rope, one executed as a spy for the American cause and the other as a traitor to it.

valiant ambitionValiant ambition : George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the fate of the American revolution / Nathaniel Philbrick.  In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within. 

secret six

George Washington’s secret six : the spy ring that saved the American Revolution / Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.  Shares the true story of an anonymous group of spies who played important roles in winning the Revolutionary War, documenting how they risked their lives to obtain crucial intelligence for General Washington using sophisticated tactics and complex codes.



libertyLiberty! : the American revolution / Thomas Fleming.  Fleming emphasizes political and moral causes, persuading readers that the American Revolution was motivated more by principle than by economic interests. He conveys well the idea that history is people, and that people are more than the sum of their daily affairs. George Washington emerges as able to overcome adversity, shape events and master himself‘a legitimate hero for an emerging nation. Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry and Benedict Arnold describe their respective experiences in their own famous words. George III is depicted, not as a mere puppet of England’s mercantile interests, but as a monarch determined to preserve royal power in the face of a challenge greater than any since the Puritan Revolution.

hamiltonHamilton : the revolution : being the complete libretto of the Broadway musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America / by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.  Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.

heroinesHeroines of the American Revolution : America’s founding mothers / by Diane Silcox-Jarrett ; illustrations by Art Seiden.  This book profiles 25 women who contributed to the colonists’ cause during the American Revolution. Besides the more familiar women, such as Abigail Adams, Deborah Sampson, and Phillis Wheatley, a number of unfamiliar figures emerge, such as Martha Bratton of Charleston, South Carolina, who exploded a supply of gunpowder rather than surrender it to the British, and Patience Wright, an American sculptor in London who smuggled secret messages out of England by hiding them in wax statues shipped to American museums. Though marred by occasional fictionalization in the form of invented thoughts and conversations, the text generally reads well. Dramatic full-color paintings illustrate the stories effectively, and the inclusion of 10 southern women provides a balance of coverage missing from many books on the Revolution.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.