Other historical works like 1776?
December 17, 2009 6:13 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to buy a book or books for someone who really liked 1776, by David McCullough, but who now wants to know more about the Revolutionary War.

I'm looking for both (a) other books that expand on the time period of the revolutionary war in the same breezy style (the book, as implied by the name, stops at the end of 1776), and (b) books about other historical periods or persons that she might like. She's a fan of biographies and politics as well, and also a fan of Toni Morrison.

I'm not interested in buying other books by David McCullough, because I think someone else might buy her one of those, and I don't want to get the same book.

Last, as this is for a gift, I'm perfectly open if you think there's something else she might like that is not strictly a book. This is not my area of expertise. My books have dragons on the cover. Any help?
posted by kingjoeshmoe to Shopping (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Was thinking the Mike Shaara books, Glorious Cause and Rise to Rebellion, but it might be more of the same. His other war books are pretty good as well. Killer Angels by Michael Shaara is a fantastic Gettysburg Civil War story.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:19 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

His Excellency, George Washington by Joseph Ellis

and, not so breezy but topnotch:
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
posted by beagle at 6:21 PM on December 17, 2009

If she's interested in social history, she might like Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (there's also a related PBS special, and the author has a great website).
posted by posadnitsa at 6:23 PM on December 17, 2009

Founders: The People Who Brought You a Nation

I recently read the above book. It's written in a fairly light-hearted style, lots of editorial asides, etc.
It's more about the people than the events and covers sort of "second-level" or less famous but still quite important figures in the time leading up to (and through) of the Revolution.
posted by madajb at 6:26 PM on December 17, 2009

Gore Vidal's Burr is a highly engaging fiction book set (mostly) in the years after the Revolutionary War.
posted by Paragon at 6:26 PM on December 17, 2009

My first choice would be the other The Glorious Cause, a solid overview of the American revolutionary war and part of Oxfords History of the United States. A second book is The Radicalism of the American Revolution
posted by shothotbot at 6:31 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks guys. I ended up going for the George Washington biography, because I know she's a fan of his, and the book on lesser known founders, because I think there's more potential for her to learn stuff she doesn't know, but with its focus on characters probably will have more of a narrative to it.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 8:53 PM on December 17, 2009

I thought the book "Angel in the Whirlwind" was excellent.

One thing I liked about it is that it made the men of that time seem like men, not like demigods. I came away after reading it with an even greater respect for George Washington. Demigods can work miracles, of course, that's par for the course. But to learn that he was just a man, and still did what he did, well, he was amazing.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:55 PM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Now that you've picked out a book, you should recommend that she also check out the blog: Boston 1175 and the 20 other Revolutionary War and Colonial History blogs listed in its left-hand column.
posted by ericb at 9:31 PM on December 17, 2009

Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer is wonderful. Covers the events of April 1775, but puts things in context and also a bio of Revere. I really enjoyed the hell out of this book.

Also by the same author, Washington's Crossing covers some of the same ground as McCullough's book but was also excellent.

I feel like McCullough has been phoning it in for quite awhile, Fischer is my current favorite popular historian. He's got a new book on Samuel de Champlain I have not had a chance to read yet.
posted by marxchivist at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2009

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