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The Road to Independence: 7 Revolutionary War Books

Historians, journalists, and bestselling novelists explore the conflict that led to the birth of an independent nation.

In any political climate, it’s helpful to remember the tenets on which this country was founded. In these seven Revolutionary War books—both fiction and nonfiction—you’ll find the eye-opening stories of brave movers and shakers who believed in the passionate pursuit of happiness, and liberty and justice for all. 


Nonfiction

Buy Revolutionaries at Amazon

Revolutionaries

By Jack Rakove

After the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party, New England’s most influential men realized they could no longer sit back and avoid war. In this sweeping biography, Jack Rakove examines the prehistory of these legendary revolutionaries—from Georgia Washington to Benjamin Franklin—and the challenges presented during our country’s journey to independence. Through meticulous research and vivid profiles, Revolutionaries paints a multi-faceted portrait of the New World and of the forward-thinkers who transformed it into the America we know today.

Revolutionaries

By Jack Rakove

Buy Battles of the Revolutionary War, 1775–1781 at Amazon

Battles of the Revolutionary War, 1775–1781

By W. J. Wood

If information on the logistics and strategy of war are what you’re after, W.J. Wood and John D. Eisenhower’s book is the cream of the crop. From tactics to planning, it gives you an insight look at the patriots’ military excellence during the Revolutionary War’s most important and game-changing battles.

Battles of the Revolutionary War, 1775–1781

By W. J. Wood

Buy 1776 at Amazon

1776

By David McCullough

Award-winning historian David McCullough presents the genesis of America through an account of the year it gained its independence. He begins when both sides realize the inevitability of war, then takes readers all the way through the campaign. Studies of the two opposing Georges—plus Americans of all social and military ranks—provide deeper insight into this landmark moment in history. Few people can take on such a mementoes endeavor, but in McCullough’s hands, the story of America’s birth is entertaining, informative, and “history writing at its best” (Publishers Weekly).

Related: 10 Civil War Books That Inform and Entertain 

1776

By David McCullough

Buy Founding Brothers at Amazon

Founding Brothers

By Joseph J. Ellis

This Pulitzer Prize-winning book is a multi-biography of the fathers of our nation—or, as they’re known here, the “founding brothers”: Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison. At a time when nothing was certain, not even nationhood, they built the very foundation of our government through the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Founding Brothers explores the roles these men played in six pivotal moments of the late 19th century—the Hamilton-Burr conflict and the legendary Jefferson-Adams letters, for example—to bring this particular era and its key players to life.

Related: The Best Presidential Biographies 

Founding Brothers

By Joseph J. Ellis

Fiction

Buy April Morning at Amazon

April Morning

By Howard Fast

Told through the eyes of a young boy, Howard Fast’s novel April Morning follows is a coming-of-age tale that coincides with America’s rise as an independent country. Adam Cooper is just fifteen-years-old when people begin whispering of war, but he’ll be damned if his age keeps him from fighting alongside his fellow patriots. His sense of duty places him at the front lines of Lexington and Concord—the first battle of the Revolutionary War, and an experience that will change Cooper’s life forever.

April Morning

By Howard Fast

Buy The Bastard at Amazon

The Bastard

By John Jakes

From the author of the iconic North and South trilogy comes the first installment of the Kent Family Chronicles—a novel set in the Revolutionary period. As an illegitimate son, Phillipe Charboneau is unable to inherit his father’s Dukedom and must rely on himself if he hopes to make his own mark. After moving to America and changing his name, he sees the dawn of the Revolutionary War, whereupon he gets the opportunity to attain the fame and glory he’s been seeking.

The Bastard

By John Jakes

Buy My Brother Sam is Dead at Amazon

My Brother Sam is Dead

By James Lincoln Collier

It might seem strange that one of the best Revolutionary War books is a novel for young readers. But it actually makes perfect sense, considering many of the people involved in the conflict were, in fact, quite young themselves. Our protagonist, Tim Meeker, finds himself torn between siding with his Revolutionary brother and his Redcoat father. But as the violence escalates and his own family comes under threat, Tim will face even greater challenges that make him see war in an entirely different light.

My Brother Sam is Dead

By James Lincoln Collier

Featured photo: Cover of "1776," by David McCullough

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Published on 03 Jul 2018

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