Read the Revolution

curated collection of excerpts from exciting, thought-provoking books about the American Revolution

April 21, 2015

The Revolution's Last Men

In 1864, the Reverend E.B. Hillard published photographs and interviews of six of the last living American Revolution veterans. In The Revolution's Last Men: The Soldiers Behind the Photographs, Don N. Hagist updates Reverend Hillard's biographies with comprehensive, primary-source research to provide a richer, more accurate look at these remarkable men's lives.

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April 7, 2015

Paul Revere's Ride

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere set off on his famous midnight ride. While this event is iconic to most Americans, far less attention has been paid to the man himself. David Hackett Fischer set out to remedy this in his book Paul Revere's Ride.

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March 24, 2015

Treacherous Beauty

Benedict Arnold's treasonous behavior during the American Revolution has earned him widespread notoriety to this day. Rarely mentioned, however, is the role his wife, Peggy Shippen, played in his betrayal. In Treacherous Beauty, authors Mark Jacob and Stephen H. Case share the fascinating story of how the machinations of a Philadelphia society girl impacted the American War of Independence.

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March 10, 2015

The American Plate

In The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites, author Libby H. O'Connell shows how the evolution of the country can be understood through changing trends in food and drink. In this excerpt she explains the role patriotism played in leading us towards our now ubiquitous coffee culture.

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February 24, 2015

Rebels Rising

Benjamin L. Carp's Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution looks at the important role urban meeting spaces played in igniting the colonists' desire for change in the decades leading up to the War of Independence.

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February 10, 2015

Age of Homespun

In the decades of resistance leading up to the War of Independence, Americans throughout the colonies began boycotting the importation of British goods in protest of increased taxation on everyday items. Women played a critical role in this effort, as described in Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s The Age of Homespun.

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January 20, 2015

Battle of Cowpens

Lawrence E. Babits' A Devil of a Whipping transports us to South Carolina on January 17, 1781. After suffering a series of southern losses, the Americans finally achieved victory at the Battle of Cowpens. In this excerpt we see the start of this memorable battle, in the words of the men who fought it.

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January 6, 2015

Common Sense

This month marks the 239th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Paine's influential pamphlet Common Sense. Written by Paine less than two years after he emigrated to Philadelphia from England, Common Sense outlined the need for American independence. Today's excerpt comes from the section "Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs."

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December 23, 2014

Valley Forge

The Continental Army endured incredible hardships at their winter encampment in Valley Forge from 1777-1778, while 20 miles away the British reveled in their occupation of Philadelphia. This excerpt from Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life shows General George Washington uneasily deciding on Valley Forge as the place to house his troops until the spring.

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December 9, 2014

Remembering the Tea Party

The first of two essays in Alfred F. Young's The Shoemaker and the Tea Party shows the contributions of ordinary people to the American Revolution by focusing on the life of George Robert Twelves Hewes. Here is Hewes' recollection of the Tea Party, much of it in his own words.

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