Read the Revolution

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

Book cover of 'the Burning of His Majesty's Schooner Gaspee: An Attack on Crown Rule Before The American Revolution" by Steven Park.
October 25, 2017

The Burning of His Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee

Over one year before the Boston Tea Party, a group of colonial protestors captured and burned a British naval schooner stationed in Rhode Island waters. The Burning of His Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee: An Attack on Crown Rule Before the American Revolution by Steven Park examines this oft-forgotten moment that helped accelerate tensions between Great Britain and its American colonies. In early 1772, British Lieutenant William Dudingston arrived in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay abroad the HMS Gaspee and aggressively enforced customs collections and cargo inspections.. Dudingston cracked down on American smugglers, but he also incited anger among colonists by harassing some lawful ships. Park’s volume surveys the hostilities leading up to the colonial retaliation against the Gaspee and repositions the episode as a pivotal spark that re-ignited colonial resistance to British authority in the early-1770s.

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Book cover of "Braddock's Defeat: The Battle of Monongahela and the Road to Revolution" by David Preston.
October 11, 2017

Braddock's Defeat

In 1754, the French and British were in the midst of a rush to control the strategically important Ohio River Valley. That year, the French established a series of forts in what is now western Pennsylvania. The French forts included Fort Duquesne, near the Forks of the Ohio River where modern-day Pittsburgh is located.  Tasked with capturing the French strongholds, British General Edward Braddock marched west with an army of British soldiers, Indian allies, and American provincial troops and began a campaign that would soon end in failure. On July 9, 1755, French and Native American warriors from Fort Duquesne deftly defeated Braddock’s forces and mortally wounded the British general at the Battle of the Monongahela. The French  retained control of the Ohio Valley in the wake of their victory. As the first major battle of the French and Indian War , the Battle of the Monongahela, remembered as Braddock’s Defeat, ended in a shocking loss for the British Army and accelerated the conflict into a global war.

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Book cover of "A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley" by Jane Kamensky.
September 27, 2017

A Revolution in Color

Jane Kamensky’s, A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley, paints an intimate and vivid portrait of the painter who came to prominence against the backdrop of the Revolutionary period. An artist, best known on this side of the Atlantic for his portraits of future American Revolutionaries such as Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams, John Singleton Copley did not share their revolutionary zeal.

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Book cover for "The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An untold Story of the American Revolution" by Robert P. Watson.
September 13, 2017

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn

One of the most horrific aspects of the American Revolution occurred within the harbor of New York City, where thousands of American soldiers and patriots suffered and died while imprisoned within a rotting, decommissioned British war ship. In his new book The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An Untold Story of the American Revolution author and historian Dr. Robert Watson weaves together accounts of the brutality of the prison ships from old newspapers, diaries, and military reports. Watson follows the lives of a few survivors of the notorious HMS Jersey to illustrate not only its abominable conditions, but also its surprising role in rallying support for American Independence.

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Book cover of "The Philadelphia Campaign, Volume One: Brandywine and the Fall of Philadelphia" by Thomas J. McGuire
August 23, 2017

The Philadelphia Campaign

Beginning at daybreak on September 11th, the Battle of Brandywine was one of the largest land battles of the Revolutionary War with 30,000 combatants. The battle took place weeks after the British landed a fleet of over 200 ships on the northern shore of the Chesapeake Bay to begin their attempt to capture Philadelphia.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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