Updated 04-27-2012

American Revolution & Late Colonial Period:
A Guide to Readings & Resources

Douglas F. Hasty
First Year Experience Librarian, Florida International University
Masters in Library Science, BA History


Time Line, 1763-1783

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Pre-Revolutionary Events Leading to Independence

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Revolutionary Events

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Recommended Readings

  • Andress, David. 1789: The Threshold of the Modern Age. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-374-10013-1
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  • Brands, H.W. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. ISBN: 0-385-49540-4
  • The imminent patriot's life story is multi-faceted, with each phase being a life story itself. Yet, this astounding individual was the epitome of interdisciplinary studies and achievements. In one long life, he was a printer, inventor, patriot, diplomat, superb writer and communicator, peace maker, war defender, and ultimately one of the iconic symbols of the American Revolution. Brands takes us through this astonishing life, sometimes funny, sometimes painful, and leaves us with a better understanding of the complex figure that now graces our most valued dollar bill.

  • Brookhiser, Richard. Alexander Hamilton, American. New York: Touchstone, 1999. ISBN: 0-684-83919-9
  • An intimate portrait of a lesser known and understood founding father. More than the usual history provides, the author reflects an accurate and personal account of the man from the Virgin Islands who became one of the most influential leaders of independence.

  • McCullough, David G. 1776. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0-7423-2671-4
  • A superb rendition of the pivotal year in the American struggle for independence, the author reverses the usual historical rendition and joins people to a time period, and superbly so. This work is concerned with the gathering of the representatives of the 13 colonies in Philadelphia, the result of which became the Declaration of Independence. By selecting the Year 1776 as the focus, and by revolving our founding fathers and patriots within this realm, McCullough brings the founding patriots, events, and circumstances of that most difficult summer into our sense of understanding and relevance. From the Independence Hall discussions to the nightly tavern arguments, the author presents our founding patriots as they really were - men of conventional origins and professions who felt compelled to stand up, be counted, swear allegiance, and risk the lives of themselves and their families, all for the most noble of causes. From the stifling summer Philadelphia heat, constant yellow fever risk, fear for their safety from King George's warrants, emerges a story of valor, sacrifice, and superb oratory.

  • McCullough, David G. John Adams. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN: 0-684-81363-7
  • Possible the preeminent work of the life of John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, 1st Vice-President of the United States, Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and Patriot. McCullough takes a previously perceived distant historical figure and injects life, passion, sacrifice, and perseverance into one of the best biographies of the new century. The first chapter is nothing less than riveting, and the reader is hooked for the remaining 600-plus pages. This is a must-read.

  • Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution 1763-1798. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. ISBN: 0-19-502921-6
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  • Randall, Williard Stearne. George Washington. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1997. ISBN: 0-850-5992-X
  • Randall takes us into the private and public life of our Founding Father by presenting him in the manner that Washington himself truly was: humble, sincere, honest, and dedicated to the emerging nation. Washington emerges as someone who we instinctively like, admire, and wish to call friend. Yet, the 1st President was as we are - complicated, multi-faceted, and more human than his dollar bill image would have us believe. The author leads us into what was the core of the patriot, feeling his failures and successes that we all experience, and emerging as someone who has rightly earned the high respect that we, the nation two hundred years plus hence, have rightly bestowed upon him.

  • Stewart, David O. The Summer of 1787. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-8692-3
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