The 4th of July is almost upon us, and if you’re like me, you’re feeling the urge to expand your understanding of the nation’s past, present, and future. There are so many books in this vein to choose from, but only a handful have been praised for being engaging, educational, and exciting all at once. So, without further ado, these are five of the best books to read to get you into the spirit of the Fourth of July this year!
‘1776’ by David McCullough
One of the most thorough depictions of the earliest events of the American Revolutionary War can be found in David McCullough’s “1776,” which was published by Simon & Schuster in May of 2005. In the sixteen years since it was first released, this book has become extremely popular. Not only will you get to read about this intense time in American history, but the work also includes several pages of historic illustrations, portraits, and battlefield maps in full color.
‘Alex & Eliza: A Love Story’ by Melissa de la Cruz
Now that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has taken over Broadway, our speaker systems, and our entire bodies and hearts, many of us are itching for even more stories about the life of this Founding Father. Romantics will love “Alex & Eliza,” Melissa de la Cruz’s first installment of a three-part love story surrounding young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.
‘Rise to Rebellion’ by Jeff Shaara
This historical fiction novel attempts to recount the actual events that happened just prior to the American Revolution. Shaara uses fictionalized versions of key figures from the revolution as characters through which to tell the story, including Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, George Washington, Thomas Gage, and more. Booklist called ‘Rise to Rebellion’ book “an exciting evocation of events leading up to the formation of America.”
‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama
If you’d like to dive into more recent U.S. history, Barack Obama’s latest collection of memoirs was published in November of 2020. The 44th President of the United States wrote this book as part of an eventual two-volume series, using these 768 pages to recount his early days in the White House, from about 2009 to 2011. His work, ‘A Promised Land,’ which was published by Crown Publishing Group, is available in both physical and audio formats, and it’s also been translated into about 24 different languages.
‘Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation’ by Cokie Roberts
Award-winning journalist Cokie Roberts published this women-centric account of some of the most important ladies of the American Revolution in 2004. These women include Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Abigail Adams, Deborah Franklin, Sarah Livingston Jay, Mercy Otis Warren, and many more. If you love ‘Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation,’ you should also check out these other books Roberts went on to write: “Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation” and “Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington.”
So, whether you plan to spend this 4th of July in the sun with friends, grilling with the family, or relaxing at home, grab one of these books to keep you company!