Read the Revolution

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

Book cover for "The Queen's American Rangers" by Donald J. Gara.
August 9, 2017

The Queen's American Rangers

Present at the battles of Brandywine, Monmouth, Charleston, and Yorktown and known for their green uniforms and unconventional, yet effective military tactics, the Queen’s American Rangers operated as one of the most successful Loyalist regiments throughout the Revolutionary War. Although created by Robert Rogers, a hero of the French and Indian War, it was the unit’s third commander, John Graves Simcoe, who developed the Queen’s Rangers into a successful legion of infantry and cavalry. Simcoe led the Queen’s Rangers from Monmouth to Yorktown.

Read More
Book cover for "Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth" by Holger Hoock.
July 26, 2017

Scars of Independence

Accounts of torture, suffering, slaughter, and starvation fill the pages of Holger Hoock’s Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth. By writing “violence back into the story,” Hoock intentionally complicates the traditional narrative of America’s founding and questions the motives of the Revolutionaries, the British, and those unwillingly entangled in the conflict.

Read More
Collage of Revolution related book covers for young readers.
July 12, 2017

Summer Reading List

For this week's Read the Revolution, we've compiled a list of 45 books for kids of all ages to enjoy over the summer. Enjoy!

Read More
Book cover for "Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle" by Mark Edward Lender and Garry Wheeler Stone.
June 28, 2017

Fatal Sunday

On an exceedingly hot day 239 years ago, General George Washington met British General Sir Henry Clinton on the battlefield at Monmouth Courthouse in New Jersey. Upon leaving their winter encampment at Valley Forge, the Continental Army tracked the British north as they abandoned Philadelphia for New York. Washington wanted to attack, but his generals, including Major General Charles Lee, advised caution during a Council of War on June 24th.

Read More
Book cover for "American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804" by Alan Taylor.
June 14, 2017

American Revolutions

A sequel to American Colonies: The Settling of North America, Alan Taylor's latest book, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1802 strips away some of the rosy veneer associated with the American Revolution to reveal a violent civil war and a fragile new nation. In extending the timeframe and geographic boundaries in his book, Taylor broadens the narrative to include the "multiple and clashing visions" of the Revolution and its legacies by tracing the role of European empires, slavery, and Native American communities and westward expansion.

Read More
Book cover for "Betsy Ross and the Making of America" by Marla R. Miller.
May 24, 2017

Betsy Ross

As the story goes, in 1776 General George Washington visited Betsy Ross at her home to discuss the creation of a flag. Betsy, upon reviewing a sketch of the proposed flag's design, quickly suggested one major change-reducing the points on the stars from six to five. After quickly folding a piece of paper and with the snip of her scissors, Betsy Ross demonstrated with ease her five-pointed star design and helped create the nation's first flag. This family legend, recorded and promoted by her descendants in the late 19th century, turned the Philadelphia upholsterer into a national heroine, widely celebrated for her small part in America's founding.

Read More
Book cover for "American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783" by William M. Fowler Jr.
May 10, 2017

American Crisis

For two years after the American victory at Yorktown in October of 1781, the Continental Army -along with their Commander in Chief-remained in the field. Peace with Great Britain, while on the horizon, was still uncertain. By March of 1783, Continental Army officers and soldiers in Newburgh, New York were eager to go home. They were growing increasingly impatient with Congress over back pay. Discord at headquarters was rampant. With peace negotiations underway, an inflammatory address circulated at camp suggesting that if Congress did not act, the officers of the army would challenge Congress's authority. General Washington had to respond. In an address that brought tears to the eyes of those present, he delivered the famous 'Newburgh Address,' quelling calls for mutiny and restoring confidence in Congress and the young nation.

Read More
Book cover of "Sealed with Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America" by Sarah J. Purcell
April 26, 2017

Sealed with Blood

Public celebrations of Revolutionary War battles and military heroes began even before the war was over. A commemoration for the Battle of Lexington and Concord took place in 1776.Major General Joseph Warren-who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill-was honored as a national martyr in poems, sermons, and a play shortly after his death. In Sealed with Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America, Sarah J. Purcell argues that Shared experiences of war and sacrifice offered Americans an opportunity to create a sense of national unity and identity during and after the war.

Read More
Book cover of "The Day The American Revolution Began: 19 April 1776" by William H. Hallahan
April 12, 2017

April 19, 1775

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 19, 1775, British troops crossed Boston Harbor with the intention of marching to Concord, Massachusetts to seize military supplies stored in the town by Patriot militiamen. Anticipating the British actions, an alarm was raised throughout the countryside by American silversmith Paul Revere and dozens of other riders who warned the colonial militia and minutemen that the regulars were on the road to Concord. By 5 am, the simmering tensions between the American colonists and the British government would reach their breaking point. The events of April 19 would change the world forever.

Read More
Book cover of "Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community during the American Revolution" by Holly A. Mayer
March 22, 2017

Belonging to the Army

Known collectively as camp followers, the "forgotten revolutionaries" of America's War for Independence were the many men, women, and children who provided support, supplies, and various other services to the Continental Army throughout the course of the War. While not officially enlisted in the Continental Army, camp followers gradually integrated themselves into its routines-forming a tight community around the Army that was fundamental to its success.

Read More