RevWar Revolutionary War Book Club discussion

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Reading Recs

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message 1: by Travis (new)

Travis Bowman (peterfrancisco) | 9 comments Mod
Post suggestions here for books you think would be interesting to read as a group.


message 2: by Amber (new)

Amber | 3 comments Bunker Hill by Janet Tinney has to be my most recommended. I have read this book so many times, and I learn something new about the early days of the Revolution each time I pick it up. The Keeping Room, Washington's Lady, Sons of Glory, Paul Revere's Ride, Hercules of the Revolution, Martha Washington, Washington in the Revolution, To Try Men's Souls, are ones that I would reccomend. Of course, I have more. : ) I have read and re-read so many books on this subject.


message 3: by Travis (new)

Travis Bowman (peterfrancisco) | 9 comments Mod
Keep the suggestions coming! I have a long list as well, but those that top the list include Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution and The Revolutionary Paul Revere. I know we're currently reading a book on this topic, but I'm particularly interested in Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse frankly because I heard it attempts to discredit Peter Francisco's involvement in that battle. I'll read anything on Lafayette. Also interested in Signing Their Lives Away and Declaration by William Hogeland. I'd be remiss if I didn't also suggest my own book Hercules of the Revolution: a novel based on the life of Peter Francisco.


message 4: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Hines (wilsonhines) Eating into 1776 now, Hazel. Gail Luckett, in the group, read it back in September!


message 5: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Hines (wilsonhines) Hazel wrote: "Tell me what you think, Wilson, everyone who has read it has told me it was really good."

Hazel, it's a good read. I spent yesterday with it and much less time today, but I am over half way through and the book is fantastic. Doesn't quite read like a novel, but doesn't quite read like a monograph, either. I look forward to more from the author!


message 6: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Hines (wilsonhines) Samuel Adams A Life by Ira Stoll I bought this a couple weeks ago, look forward to it. Wow, I look forward to a lot of things lol


message 7: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Hines (wilsonhines) OMG, PEOPLE! I can't say how much I appreciate reading 1776 BEFORE starting to read "The Road to Guildford..." - It has made such a fantastic difference just knowing "the lay of the land."


message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather (thebookstand) | 6 comments Sounds like I need to read that book, Wilson!


message 9: by Todd (new)

Todd Andrlik (raglinen) | 4 comments Bailyn, Bernard. The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson. Harvard University Press, 1974.

Breen, T.H. The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence. Oxford University Press, 2004.

Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere’s Ride. Oxford University Press, 1994.

Galvin, John R. The Minute Men: The First Fight: Myths and Realities of the American Revolution. Potomac Books, 1989.

Hibbert, Christopher. Redcoats and Rebels. Grafton Books, 1990.

Ketchum, Richard M. The Battle for Bunker Hill. Doubleday, 1962.

Maier, Pauline. From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776. W.W. Norton & Company, 1991.

Schlesinger, Arthur M. Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain, 1764-1776. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958.

Tyler, John W. Smugglers & Patriots: Boston Merchants and the Advent of the American Revolution. Northeastern University Press, 1986.

Young, Alfred F. Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier. Vintage Books, 2004.

Young, Alfred F. The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution. Beacon Press, 1999.


message 10: by Mark (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments My current favorite book on the RevWar is Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence by John Ferling. It's a well-written military history and I have read it twice in the past year. Another good read on a crucial campaign is Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard M Ketchum. For biographies, I like John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography by Samuel Eliot Morison.


message 11: by Travis (new)

Travis Bowman (peterfrancisco) | 9 comments Mod
Thanks for the recs, Mark! I'd be interested in reading the John Paul Jones bio, too.


message 12: by Angie (new)

Angie | 8 comments I have so many books on my list I don't know where to start! I am currently reading Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. Its a great general history book because it covers the social, political, economic an military aspects of the Rev.


message 13: by Heather (new)

Heather (thebookstand) | 6 comments I have that book, too, Angie. I'm looking forward to reading it and Rise to Rebellion: A Novel of the American Revolution!


message 14: by Angie (new)

Angie | 8 comments Jeff Shaara is a good author so I think you'll enjoy Rise to Rebellion.


message 15: by Steve (new)

Steve Boothe (Smoothe_1) | 49 comments Mod
Angie wrote: "I have so many books on my list I don't know where to start! I am currently reading Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. Its a great general hi..."

Hi Angie. That's a terrific work that covers the entire revolution. After I read a library copy, I knew I had to have one of my own. Often times, I find myself referring to it when reading another RevWar book. Happy reading!


message 16: by Mark (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments Over the winter break I re-read Saratoga Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard M. Ketchum by Richard Ketchum. It is a well-written and comprehensive history of the failed British campaign of 1777.


message 17: by Steve (new)

Steve Boothe (Smoothe_1) | 49 comments Mod
Mark wrote: "Over the winter break I re-read Saratoga Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard M. Ketchum by Richard Ketchum. It is a well-written and comprehensive history of the failed British c..."

That is a great book. Unfortunately, Mr. Ketchum passed away a little over a week ago. As a tribute, we will read one of his books. Please feel free to join us and vote on which one you'd like to read.


message 18: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments I just finished "Oliver Wiswell" by Kenneth Roberts and posted a review. Excellent narration of the war from the loyalist perspective.


message 19: by Mark (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments Steve wrote: "Mark wrote: "Over the winter break I re-read Saratoga Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard M. Ketchum by Richard Ketchum. It is a well-written and comprehensive history of the fai..."

Never saw the list. I'll wait for your next list. How do I suggest a book?


message 20: by Steve (new)

Steve Boothe (Smoothe_1) | 49 comments Mod
Hi Mark:

I'm sorry you didn't see the poll. They generally show up at the bottom of our group home page. They are usually open for about 2 weeks. Once the poll closes, it disappears from the home page but you can still see it by clicking on "Polls" in the Navigation area at the top, right of this page.

Please feel free to join us as we read Richard Ketchum's Victory at Yorktown. I suspect it will be as enjoyable as his other RevWar works such as Saratoga.

To suggest a book, please post your recommendations to this topic post.


message 21: by Mark (last edited Mar 02, 2013 10:20AM) (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments I just finished reading Richard Ketchum's Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War for the third time.


message 22: by Mark (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments Is this group dead? I was looking for a place to list books on the AmRev that I have read recently and there have been no posts since March 2013.
I just finished reading The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn and am now reading From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain 1765-76 by Pauline Maier in preparation for a course on the American Revolution next month at Temple University.


message 23: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments I would enjoy some activity, also.


message 24: by Debi (new)

Debi (celticsky) | 4 comments I agree. How do we get the ball rolling?


message 25: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments Just a thought but how about each of us ask a question he/she would like answered about a particular aspect of the Revolutionary War that others who have knowledge of that aspect could answer. For instance, I know a lot about the Battles of Lexington and Concord. I'd like to know about the clashes of ego between Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold at Saratoga. How much friction was there? Who contributed more? etc.


message 27: by Mark (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments Harold wrote: "Just a thought but how about each of us ask a question he/she would like answered about a particular aspect of the Revolutionary War that others who have knowledge of that aspect could answer. For..."
Saratoga? You can't go wrong with Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War by Richard Ketchum.


message 28: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments Thank you, Mark. I'll mark that book down. I've read Ketchum's "Victory at Yorktown."


message 29: by Debi (new)

Debi (celticsky) | 4 comments I'm beginning a study (personal) on Yorktown. Recently I've read Liberty's Daughters by Mary Beth Norton, and "George Washington's Secret Six," by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. I've read many more, but can't remember them all. Yorktown comes up quite a bit, and I really have no knowledge of specific battles. It would be nice, rather than read a book that includes all major battles, to break it down like the books mentioned above.

I also have quite a bit of interest and some knowledge on women during the Revolution.


message 30: by Mark (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments I recently finished A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic by John Ferling. It is a political history of the American Revolution and as such is a companion to his excellent book Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence, possibly the best military history of the AR.


message 31: by Paul (last edited Mar 24, 2014 06:36AM) (new)

Paul | 2 comments Hopefully this group isn't as dead as it looks. I hope it's also the right place to ask for a recommendation. I've read a fair bit of non-fiction on the revolution, and wanted to try some fictional accounts. I have, however, a couple of caveats if I may:

1. Politics is my main interest. And I'd like to have a book that goes into the political ideology of the time if possible. Military fiction is OK, but I'm not really one for battle after battle with little else. Stories that just use the revolution as a backdrop, but don't really go into the political aspects I'm uninterested in.
2. History books tend to at least acknowledge there was a genuine debate and controversy among the colonists about where their future lay. But I'm aware how ridiculously deified the founding fathers have become in US popular culture. I'm after a something that actually presents all sides of the argument, and not just some simplistic good vs. evil caricature with pantomime British tyrants and their lickspittle loyalist henchmen. I fear that moving into fiction, where the authors have no need to recourse to 'facts', may make this a challenge!

If anyone has anything that fulfills both of those, I'd be very grateful for the info.


message 32: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments I recommend Kenneth Robert's "Oliver Wiswell." A historical fiction author myself, I take exception to your suspicion that historical fiction writers "have not need to recourse to 'facts.'" Read a few quality novels and you will change your mind.


message 33: by Paul (new)

Paul | 2 comments Harold, many thanks for your recommendation, looking at synopses it sounds very interesting.

Apologies, no slight meant to historical authors. I merely meant that fiction gives the ability to have 'artistic licence', which doesn't exist in non-fiction. I have read many excellent historical novels, and have great respect for their authors. I just have not had the best impression of revolution fiction in film and TV ('the Patriot' springs immediately to mind, but others too), hence my wariness of literary fiction set in the period.


message 34: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments Understood. I agree that historical fiction writers should always be true to the facts. They should strive to research extensively their subject matter so that they may know the facts. Artistic license is permissible provided it doesn't alter the facts. I remember renting "The Patriot" years ago. Pretty contrived. Film and TV representations usually are. "Oliver Wiswell" is also contrived in that the main character seems to be involved in every important event. It does, however, give the reader a good sense of the divergence of opinions held by rebels, loyalists, and the British. I enjoyed and reviewed it.


message 35: by Jay (new)

Jay Y. | 2 comments Just finished first of two volumes by Jeff Shaara "Rise to Rebellion" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
I found it a good read as it does try to get in the heads of major figures of both sides. Seemed highly accurate thought I am no expert on all of the events of this part of the American Revolution. There is some description of battles, but not overwhelming.
Here is the GoodReads ranking list on this topic:
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2...


message 36: by Harold (last edited Mar 25, 2014 12:06PM) (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments Whenever I see a reader that compliments "Rise to Rebellion," I see red. Most readers are not aware of how awful a job Jeff Shaara did narrating the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the retreat of the British army back to Boston on April 19, 1775. His account is full of errors and important omissions. He even misnames Major Pitcairn, naming him Thomas Pitcairn instead of John Pitcairn. See my book review for more details.


message 37: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Brayton (mystrtreefrogbrayton) | 1 comments Reading first chapter of The Men Who Lost America by O'Shaughnessy. Looking forward to finishing this one soon. Any suggestions for good books about the Brooklyn Prison Ships?


message 38: by Mark (new)

Mark Singer (markesinger) | 16 comments Is this group dead? That would be sad. Here is a list of some books that I have read over the past year, going backwards. Some are post-American Revolution, but I have included them anyway
1. The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty by William Hogeland (Five stars)
2. Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer (Five stars)
3. The Federalist Era 1789-1801 by John Miller (Three stars)
4. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis (Five stars)
5. The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America by Gary B. Nash (Four stars)
6. American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic by Joseph Ellis (Four stars)
7. Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 by Christopher Collier (Three stars)
8. Shays' Rebellion: The Making of an Agrarian Insurrection (Four stars)
9. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 by Fred Anderson (Five stars)
10. The Navigation Acts and the American Revolution by Oliver Dickerson (Four stars)
11. The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution by Edmund Morgan (Five stars)


message 39: by Debi (new)

Debi (celticsky) | 4 comments It seems to have been dead for a long time. It is sad.


message 40: by Robert (new)

Robert Krenzel (robert_krenzel) | 1 comments Mark wrote: "Is this group dead? That would be sad.

That would indeed be sad. Let's keep it going!

I recently read Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution. I was frankly surprised by how little I really knew about Lafayette. It reminded me how much I still have to learn about one of my favorite periods of history.


message 41: by Becky (new)

Becky | 1 comments Mark wrote: "Is this group dead? That would be sad. Here is a list of some books that I have read over the past year, going backwards. Some are post-American Revolution, but I have included them anyway
1. The W..."

I also read Paul Revere's Ride and really liked it. It had so much information that was new to me. And the way David Hackett Fisher wrote it made it easy to become engrossed. I'll have to check out some of these other selections.


message 42: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Jeannette | 7 comments Harold wrote: "Whenever I see a reader that compliments "Rise to Rebellion," I see red. Most readers are not aware of how awful a job Jeff Shaara did narrating the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the retreat..."

Harold, I agree with your assessment. In "The Glorious Cause," the night before the Battle of Monmouth, Lafayette uses a friction match to illuminate himself in the darkness. "He pulled the match from his pocket, made a short hard stroke against the metal of his short scabbard. The small flame made a soft glow on the road, and Lafayette held the match close to his own face..." I reread this passage several times because I couldn't believe what I was seeing! A friction match in 1778? Really?

I write Revolutionary War fiction. I'm a fanatic when it comes to historical accuracy. That Shaara could allow this glaring error to stand is beyond my comprehension. A little research goes a long way toward believability, and credibility.


message 43: by Charles (new)

Charles Gonzalez | 2 comments This is cool , also had thought this group inactive - bravo to Mark . The Founders and that generation are are special to me. I count myself a Hamiltonian; I actually found his Report on Manufactures a fascinating read. But I have not been able to secure a ticket for less than $600 to see the show - but I did get the soundtrack.
Among my many readings these past couple years in this era are two works about the person whom Alan Johnson, the moderator of the Political Philosophy Group calls the " first American founder". Heirs describing Roger Williams, who most Americans have a fleeting knowledge and appreciation for. Alan's book is ""The First American Founder; Roger Williams and Freedom of Conscious. The second book is by John Barry,"Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul". While no direct line exists between Williams and Madison/Jefferson, etc., a reading of these books proves that his message of religious freedom and a clear, clean separation between church and state was in currency in the colonies for the Founders to delve into.


message 44: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 25 comments Gretchen wrote: "Harold wrote: "Whenever I see a reader that compliments "Rise to Rebellion," I see red. Most readers are not aware of how awful a job Jeff Shaara did narrating the Battles of Lexington and Concord ..."

I'm glad to see other readers recognizing Shaara's historical inaccuracies.


message 45: by J (new)

J | 1 comments Does anyone have a recommendation for a history book that focuses on the founding father's role as diplomats abroad? I'd like to read a book that talks about what Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and Jay were doing in Europe from before the war to about the end of the Revolution or the War of 1812. Thanks!


message 46: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Jeannette | 7 comments While I take a break from writing, I'm searching for well-written, recently published Revolutionary War novels to spark my imagination. Recommendations anyone?


message 47: by Christian (new)

Christian Robertson | 7 comments Does it absolutely need to be a novel? I could certainly recommend some entertaining Revolutionary War era non-fiction books that almost have the "feel" of a novel.


message 48: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Jeannette | 7 comments I do have a library of non-fiction RevWar books, but I can never have too many. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Thank you!


message 49: by Christian (new)

Christian Robertson | 7 comments Ok, if you have a library of non-fiction RevWar books, then I'm sure you have the standards like McCullough and Chernow, but a couple books I stumbled across which I really enjoyed because they felt almost like fiction are:
- Through a Howling Wilderness by Thomas A. Dejardin (about Arnold's trek to Quebec)
- The Whites of Their Eyes by Paul Lockhart (about Bunker Hill)


message 50: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Jeannette | 7 comments I'll look into both. Thank you again!


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