Summer Reads


Elizabeth Shippen Green

Happily, summer revives that treasured list of must-reads that we shoved aside for coursework, research, grading, and gaming. Here are a few new releases in early American history that I plan to check out. What’s on your summer reading list? What can you recommend for us to review here at The Junto?

James Corbett David, Dunmore’s New World

Denver Brunsman, The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Andrew R.L. Cayton, Love in the Time of Revolution: Transatlantic Literary Radicalism and Historical Change, 1793-1818

Robert Beverley, The History and Present State of Virginia: A New Edition with an Introduction by Susan Scott Parrish

Daniel K. Richter, Trade, Land, Power: The Struggle for Eastern North America

Nathaniel Philbrick, Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution

Karen A. Weyler, Empowering Words: Outsiders and Authorship in Early America

Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877

Teresa Anne Murphy, Citizenship and the Origins of Women’s History in the United States

Harold Holzer and Eric Foner, The Civil War in 50 Objects

Robert Englebert and Guillaume Teasdale, eds., French and Indians in the Heart of North America, 1630-1815

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire

Marie Arana, Bolivar: American Liberator

Timothy M. Costelloe, The British Aesthetic Tradition: From Shaftesbury to Wittgenstein

Christopher Hanlon, America’s England: Antebellum Literature and Atlantic Sectionalism

Susan Hardman Moore, Abandoning America: Life-Stories from Early New England

Peter S. Onuf and Nicholas P. Cole, eds., Thomas Jefferson, the Classical World, and Early America

Barry Levy, Town Born: The Political Economy of New England from Its Founding to the Revolution

12 responses

  1. I apologize for the self-promotion, but since I wrote it to be read and responded to, I wanted to mention my upcoming book, _The Chinese Exclusion Act: What It Can Teach Us About America_. Comes out in June from Palgrave’s new Pivot series (so will be available and particularly affordable in digital versions as well as in print), and again, any and all thoughts would be very very appreciated. Thanks so much!

  2. Yikes! I remember Summer reading lists to be a challenge, but your list Sara is daunting. But thank you, nonetheless. Here’s some more line-items for those of you who have not thrown up their hands in response…

    Here are some additions that our fellow readers may enjoy:

    Shay’s Rebellion; The American Revolution’s Final Battle; Leonard L. Richards

    The name of War; King Philip’s War and The Origins of American Identity; Jill Lepore

    Notes On A Lost Flute; A Field Guide to the Wabanaki; Kerry Hardy

    Every Day Life in The Massachusetts Bay Colony; George Francis Dow

    The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725; Abbott Lowell Cummings

  3. There are a number of popular histories coming out this summer having to do with years just before independence (in addition to Philbrick and O’Shaughnessy, whom you already mentioned):

    Richard Beeman, Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776

    Joseph Ellis, Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence

    John Ferling, Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation

    Allegra di Bonaventura, For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England

    Ruma Chopra, Choosing Sides: Loyalists in Revolutionary America

    • My response to the first three on that list was, in increasing magnitude, “OMG, that guy’s doing ANOTHER one of these books?!”

      • HA!! That’s what they do. ūüėČ I listed them because what struck me about them is their focus on the pre-independence 1770s rather than the 1780s or 1790s which Beeman and Ellis have written about to death. Personally, I will probably read Beeman’s book and the one by di Bonaventura.

  4. The Men Who Lost American is the title that MOST interests me.

    I downloaded the Beeman title sample chapter – looks like a very good synthesis that probably won’t contain much new for those who live and breath this period and its inhabitants, but I’d really be curious to hear anyone’s views on that.

    Personally, I’m 1/2 through vol 1 of Freeman’s bio of Washington, honoring a long standing pledge to climb that hill one volume per year.

  5. Thanks for these, Sara; looks like I’ve got some Interlibrary Loan requests to make. I’d add Edward Andrews’s _Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World_ to the list

  6. I would add Caleb McDaniel’s The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery: Garrisonian Abolitionism & Transatlantic Reform. I was lucky enough to read a manuscript version of this book during my master’s studies. It is definitely worth a look.


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