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staff picks winter2

Revolutionary Fever

I am always amazed and somewhat disbelieving that the American colonists found the courage — the intrepidness — to take on the mighty British Empire. To win that war, against all odds, both showed what America was and what it still is today. Two hundred and forty years later, we are still fascinated by our beginnings — and historians are still writing compelling books about it.

Some recent titles include:

American spring : Lexington, Concord, and the road to revolution by Walter R. Borneman – Looking at the few tumultuous months between December 1774 and July 1775, Borneman examines the people and events that lead Britain and the American colonies over the precipice and into war. Both Americans, such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams, and the British, like Thomas Gage and William Howe, are scrutinized to give depth and understanding to this crucial time period.

Revolutionary summer : the birth of American independence by Joseph J. Ellis – Pulitzer-winning American historian Joseph J. Ellis brings to life the dramatic beginnings of America in the summer of 1776. As the thirteen colonies agree to secede, the British are answering with the military and naval might of the Empire. Ellis reveals both the political, military, and personal aspects of the times.

John Adams by David McCullough – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for 2002, David McCullough has produced a masterpiece for one of the biggest figures of the Revolutionary War and the founding of the United States. A lawyer from Braintree, Massachusetts, Adams’ brilliant mind shown a light on the path to independence. From persuading reluctant delegates of the Continental Congress, to negotiating a peace treaty with England, to obtaining vital government loans from Amsterdam bankers, to serving as Vice-President with George Washington, and then becoming our second President, Adams was an essential component to the success of the American Revolution.

Bunker Hill : a city, a siege, a revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick – Starting with the Boston Tea Party, Boston and the surrounding communities were the hot flame of discontent and resistance to British empirical rule. Philbrick highlights the march toward war that King George or the British ministry didn’t think that the American colonists were willing to fight. From the bloody scrimmages through Lexington and Concord, to the absolute warfare of the Battle of Bunker Hill, leaders on both sides made decisions that changed the world forever.

Glory, passion, and principle : the story of eight remarkable women at the core of the American Revolution by Melissa Lukeman Bohrer – “Remember the ladies,” is the famous words of one of the most well-known women of Revolutionary times, Abigail Adams. She and several others, including Mercy Otis Warren, Phillis Wheatley, and Molly Pitcher, are highlighted. Each chapter dramatized the actions and words of these women, giving the book a feeling of a novel, yet also containing enough facts to provide a good historical representation.

Helen Freeman

Helen Freeman is the Technical Services librarian.