Read the Revolution

curated collection of excerpts from exciting, thought-provoking books about the American Revolution

August 25, 2015

The Hessian Perspective

The British Crown hired soldiers from six separate "German" states to fight alongside British forces during the War of Independence, with more than half coming from Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Hanau. In Hessians: Mercenaries, Rebels, and the War for British North America, author Brady J. Crytzer provides a look at the conflict from their perspective. Here, he shares the early experiences of Captain Johann Ewald of the 2nd Jäger Company, who joined the conflict in the fall of 1776.

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August 11, 2015

Women and the War

The War of Independence took a toll on all it touched — men and women, Patriots and Loyalists. In this excerpt from John Ferling's Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It, he shows the trials and tribulations women faced during the long conflict.

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July 28, 2015

An Empire on the Edge

On June 9, 1772, a group of Rhode Island colonists attacked and torched the HMS Gaspee, which had been dispatched to the area by the British to enforce maritime trade laws and prevent smuggling. As Nick Bunker describes in his book An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, this event widened the steadily-growing divisions between the colonists and the Crown.

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July 14, 2015

Kidnapping the Enemy

In December 1776, George Washington's second-in-command, Major General Charles Lee, was captured by the British. In response, a secret mission to kidnap British General Richard Prescott was planned, with the Americans hoping to exchange him for General Lee. Christian M. McBurney's Kidnapping the Enemy shows the mission's leader, Lieutenant Colonel William Barton, preparing for the successful July 10, 1777 raid on General Prescott's sleeping quarters.

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June 23, 2015

The March to Monmouth

When George Washington learned the British planned to evacuate occupied Philadelphia, he had to decide whether or not to aggressively pursue the enemy. In this excerpt from Joseph G. Bilby and Katherine Bilby Jenkins' book Monmouth Court House, Washington receives opposing recommendations from his generals, who disagree on the battle-readiness of the American troops.

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June 9, 2015

Founding Friendships

The American Revolution ushered in a period of increased political importance for elite women, spurred in part by valued friendships between men and women. Women gained political access, influence, and information through their male friends in political office. This adapted essay from Cassandra Good's Founding Friendships shows how crucial these friendships were as a channel for women to be informed and have their voices heard.

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May 26, 2015

A Growing Resistance

After the French and Indian War, tensions began to rise between Great Britain and the American colonies, particularly as the Americans grew resistant to new taxes placed on them by Parliament without American representation. This excerpt from Les Standiford's Desperate Sons describes America's increasing number of grievances with its mother country and Britain's indifference to the colonists' complaints.

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May 12, 2015

Philadelphia on the Defense

As war crept up on Philadelphia in 1776, the city's leaders and residents prepared for a potential invasion by British forces. In this excerpt from Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, we see how the year's events led an uneasy population to shore up their defenses — and eventually flee.

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April 21, 2015

The Revolution's Last Men

In 1864, the Reverend E.B. Hillard published photographs and interviews of six of the last living American Revolution veterans. In The Revolution's Last Men: The Soldiers Behind the Photographs, Don N. Hagist updates Reverend Hillard's biographies with comprehensive, primary-source research to provide a richer, more accurate look at these remarkable men's lives.

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April 7, 2015

Paul Revere's Ride

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere set off on his famous midnight ride. While this event is iconic to most Americans, far less attention has been paid to the man himself. David Hackett Fischer set out to remedy this in his book Paul Revere's Ride.

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