Inspiring Books of the American Revolutionary War Era

The start of a new year seems to be coupled with new resolutions and fresh beginnings, naturally. If your list includes looking for that one book to start 2019 with or looking to dive into the American Revolutionary Era with a reading list or you were casting around to settle on a new interest to begin the year with, Emerging Revolutionary War has you covered!

With 2018 coming to a close, Emerging Revolutionary War asked its cadre of historians to share their answers to the following question;

“What was the one book that most influenced you and sparked your interest in this time period of history?”

Their answers are below!

Robert Dunkerly: 

“A Respectable Army” by James Martin and Mark Lender

Reason: “I love how this book looks at the evolution of the Continental Army and analyzes motivations for men enlisting (or not). Its a great reference on the origins of the American military and I find myself reaching for it a lot.”

William Griffith

“Empires in the Mountains: French and Indian War Campaigns and Forts in the Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Hudson River Corridor” by Russell P. Bellico

Reason: “Empires in the Mountains is the definitive study of major British military operations from Albany, New York to Lake Champlain during the French and Indian War, including, but not limited to, the Battles of Lake George, Fort William Henry, and Carillion (Ticonderoga). The original research done for this book is impeccable, and Bellico knows his subject better than anyone else. Each chapter is dedicated to individual battles and campaigns, so the reader can pick it up at anytime for easy reference use. This book was invaluable to me while I was completing my own on the Battle of Lake George.”

Robert Orrison 

“Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fischer

Reason: “First an admission, when this book was released I was 18 and loved history, but did not read this book until ten years later. I wished I had read this earlier before my first trip to Lexington and Concord. Fischer is a great author, with a very readable style. He weaves in a ton of historic information and detail into a great human story. Some books are great reads with some good history and some books are good reads with great history – this book is both a great read with great historic facts. Highly recommend to anyone who has an interest not just in the American Revolution but in American or World history.”

Eric Sterner

“Washington’s Crossing” by David Hackett Fischer

Reason: “Fischer has a storyteller’s gift of engaging his readers by bringing the people of the past back to life and the historian’s eye for identifying the great forces at work in moving history.  He knows you cannot separate them.  I always recommend it to people who want to dip their toes into the American Revolution, knowing that it’ll spark their interest in learning more, and to accomplished historians who perhaps just haven’t gotten around to it yet. ”

Mark Maloy

“A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens” by Lawrence E. Babits

Reason: “This is one of my favorite Revolutionary War books.  It is concise and well written, includes dozens of maps that show how the battle progressed, and Babits uses experimental archaeology to reconstruct pivotal moments of the battle.  He uses numerous personal stories of the men who fought in the battle that helps bring this significant Patriot victory to life!”

Mark Wilcox

“Saratoga: Turning Point in America’s Revolutionary War” by Richard M. Ketchum

Reason: “I really enjoy Ketchum’s writing because his narrative is clear, weaving in the many first-hand accounts from the participants, and tells a truly gripping story. Gates claimed the victory but you get to see how the actions of so many others, like Arnold and Morgan, shaped the outcome of the British campaign.  You clearly see how St. Clair’s decision to abandon Ticonderoga without a fight not only saved his command but set up the events that were to unfold for “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne. A really good read.”

Of course, if you are looking for that introductory book, check out the titles from the new Emerging Revolutionary War Serieswith new volumes coming in 2019!

Feel free to add your book suggestion in the comments below and the historians at Emerging Revolutionary War wish you a great start to the new year!


2 thoughts on “Inspiring Books of the American Revolutionary War Era

  1. John Foskett

    The book that triggered my interest when I was a kid was Now We Are Enemies by Thomas Fleming. Although it’s long since been supplanted by Ketchum, Nelson, Philbrick, etc.,in some respects, for me it remains the most readable and graphic account of Bunker Hill and is tightly focused on the actual combat and tactics in a way those others are not. .


  2. Joseph Ellis’s “Founding Brothers” had a huge impact on me. Understanding the interpersonal relationships between the Founders, and seeing them as squabbling “brothers,” helped me realize just how important personal character was to the establishment of the nation. While politics certainly drove the Founding, it also took men of great character to guide the nation through that early tumult. until processes and precedents could harden into established ways of doing things.


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