Recommendations on American Revolution

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

A loyal reader, cursed with the misfortune of being educated outside our American public school system, has asked me for recommendations on books or TV series about our American Revolution. I, cursed with the misfortune of being educated within our American public school system, can’t point to one definitive book but only away from our many textbooks.

I’ve mentioned Moldbug’s recommendation of Sydney George Fisher’s True History of the American Revolution, written 100 years ago, but I haven’t yet read it. (I’ve discussed the revolution many times, of course.)

So, loyal readers, any recommendations?


  1. Isegoria says:

    Looking at Amazon UK’s listings left me feeling disoriented — pardon, disorientated — and dizzy.

    To find books on the American Revolution, one steps down the hierarchy as follows: Books > History > North America > Colonial, Independence 1501-1800.

    And then the list of books is almost totally unrecognizable.

  2. Isegoria says:

    There are a number of basic histories of the Revolution — The Birth of the Republic, by Edmund S. Morgan, The American Revolution: A History, by Gordon S. Wood, etc. — that I haven’t read, but Colonies to Nation, 1763-1789: A Documentary History of the American Revolution, edited by Jack P. Greene, looks promising.

  3. Wobbly says:

    If only it were covered to the same degree as the Civil War!

  4. Isegoria says:

    Militarily the Revolution isn’t particularly exciting — one of the “high” points is wintering at Valley Forge — but the Founding Fathers make for good biographies.

    Anyway, Piers Mackesy’s The War for America, 1775-1783 looks promising:

    The events of the American Revolution signified by Lexington, Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, Saratoga, and Yorktown are familiar to American readers. Far less familiar is the fact that, for the British, the American colonies were only one front in a world war. England was also pitted against France and Spain. Not always in command of the seas and threatened with invasion, England tried grimly for eight years to subdue its rebellious colonies; to hold Canada, the West Indies, India, and Gibraltar; and to divide its European enemies. In this vivid history Piers Mackesy views the American Revolution from the standpoint of the British government and the British military leaders as they attempted to execute an overseas war of great complexity. Their tactical response to the American Revolution is now comprehensible, seen as part of a grand imperial strategy.

  5. Tom says:

    Not histories of the entire Revolution, but, some very good insight into the times and conditions of 1775 and 1776-7: Paul Revere’s Ride and Washington’s Crossing, both by David Hackett Fischer.

    I heard of these from attending an Appleseed shooting event. I’ve read Paul Revere’s Ride and am halfway through Washington’s Crossing. Both are excellent books on different parts of the Revolution.

  6. Victor says:

    The War of Independence by John Fiske. Fiske was an excellent historian and wrote many great works on that period, in particular The Critical Period of American History 1783-1789, an enlightening study of a largely forgotten period in American history, yet one which was extremely important. Both books are available online.

  7. Wobbly says:

    Tom, Victor, thanks for the recommendations. This all looks interesting.

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