Henry Knox Bookshelf


Henry Knox was a bookseller prior to joining the Continental Army and was known for recommending books to his fellow officers.  These are recommended new release titles for your consideration selected by members of the SAR History Committee.

Spring 2024

NO LONGER SUBJECTS OF THE BRITISH KING: The Political Transformation of Royal Subjects to Republican Citizens, 1774-1776

by Shawn David McGhee, (Westholme) April 18, 2024, 978-1594164262, 232 pages, $34.95

When news reached Parliament of the Boston radicals’ destruction of the Royal East India Company’s tea, it passed the Coercive Acts, a collection of punitive measures designed to rein in that insubordinate seaport town. The Coercive Acts unleashed a political firestorm as communities from Massachusetts to Georgia drafted resistance resolutions condemning Parliament’s perceived encroachment upon American liberty.  Local activists next convened the Continental Congress to coordinate a pan-colonial resistance movement to pressure Parliament to refrain. Once convened, Congress deftly drafted the Articles of Association. McGhee offers a fresh perspective on the origins of American political identity. This book explains the crucial process by which the Continental Association organized American towns and counties into a proto-national community of suffering to protect political identities they felt under threat. This work further demonstrates how those sacrificing for the common cause severed their bonds of allegiance to the British king and separated from the broader imperial nation. In this crucible of austerity, they formed an American political community, completing the political transformation from subject to citizen.

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S MOMENTOUS YEAR: Twelve Months that Transformed the Revolution, July to December 1777

by Gary Ecelbarger (Westholme) June 14, 2024,  978-1594164224, 296 pages, $34.95

 On August 25, 1777, Crown troops landed at Head of Elk in Maryland.  Over the next several months, British and American forces clashed at Brandywine, Paoli, White Horse Tavern, and Whitemarsh. By mid-September, the British captured Philadelphia – the fighting continued through November at Germantown,  Forts Mifflin, and Mercer. In December, a defeated Washington and his troops entered their legendary winter encampment at Valley Forge while Howe and the British occupied Philadelphia. During the savage winter months, the Americans suffered. With the official alliance with France in early 1778, and after a difficult encampment, the Americans followed General Henry Clinton, the new commander of Crown forces,  who had been ordered back to New York through New Jersey.  Ecelbarger, narrates the events, personalities, decisions, and battles during the critical period that ended with a July 4, 1778 celebration. In the first of this history’s two volumes, the author explores the Philadelphia campaign primarily from Washington’s perspective.

GLORIOUS LESSONS: John Trumbull, Painter of the American Revolution

by Richard Brookhiser (Yale) May 28, 2024, 9780300259704, 276 pages, $30.00

The complicated life and legacy of John Trumbull, whose paintings portrayed both the struggle and the principles that distinguished America’s founding moment

Trumbull experienced the American Revolution firsthand—he served as aid to George Washington and Horatio Gates, was shot at, and was jailed as a spy. He made it his mission to record the war, giving visual form to what most citizens of the new United States thought: that they had brought into the world a great and unprecedented political experiment. His purpose, he wrote, was “to preserve and diffuse the memory of the noblest series of actions which have ever presented themselves in the history of man.” Although Trumbull’s contemporaries viewed him as a painter, Trumbull thought of himself as a historian.  Brookhiser tells Trumbull’s story of acclaim and recognition, a story complicated by provincialism, war, a messy personal life, and, ultimately, changing fashion. He shows how the artist’s fifty-year project embodied the meaning of American exceptionalism and played a key role in defining the values of the new country. Trumbull depicted the story of self-rule in the modern world—a story as important and as contested today as it was 250 years ago.

THE FIERCE PEOPLE: The Untold Story of America’s Revolutionary War in the South

by Alan Pell Crawford, (Knopf) July 2, 2024, 978-0593318508, 400 pages, $32.50

A groundbreaking, significant recovery of history; the overlooked story—fully explored—of the critical aspect of America’s Revolutionary War that was fought in the South, showing that the British surrender at Yorktown was the direct result of the Southern campaign and that the battles that emerged south of the Mason-Dixon line between loyalists to the Crown and patriots who fought for independence were, in fact, America’s first civil war.  While crucial, the famous battles in the Northern Theater that form the backbone of the story of American independence did not lead to the surrender at Yorktown. This riveting new book, This Fierce People, tells the story of the war in the South, long ignored by historians, and of the fierce battles fought that made up the central theater of military operations in the latter years of the Revolutionary War. Weaving throughout the stories of the heroic men and women, largely unsung patriots—African Americans and whites, militiamen and “irregulars,” patriots and Tories, Americans, Frenchmen, Brits, and Hessians, Crawford reveals the misperceptions and contradictions of our accepted understanding of how our nation came to be, as well as the national narrative that America’s victory over the British lay solely with General George Washington and his troops.

Winter 2024

Freedom: The Enduring Importance of the American Revolution

by Jack D. Warren (Lyons Press) ISBN 978-1493071708 488 pages (10/03/23) $60.00

Published under the auspices of the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati, this volume is a lavishly illustrated narrative history of the War for Independence. It tells the pivotal story of the courageous men and women who risked their lives to create a new nation based on the idea that government should serve people and protect their freedom. Written for Americans intent on understanding our national origins but also appropriate for teachers and secondary classrooms, Freedom argues that the American Revolution is the central event in our history: the turning point between our colonial origins and our national experience. Freedom includes 167 full-color paintings, maps, illustrations, and photos—many seen only in historical institutions nationwide. The narrative spans from the American Revolution’s origins in the nature of colonial British America—a society in which freedom was limited and in which everyone was the subject of a distant monarch—through the crisis in the British Empire that followed the French and Indian War, to the events of the War for Independence itself, and ultimately to the creation of the first great republic in modern history. This is the story of how Americans came to fight for their freedom and became a united people, with a shared history and national identity, and how a generation of founders expressed ideals of liberty, equality, natural and civil rights, and responsible citizenship: ideals that have shaped our history and will shape the future world.

American Triumph: America’s Founding Era through the Lives of Ben Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams 

by Tom Hand (Americana Corner Pres) ISBN 979-8988267508 (11/01/23) 288 pgs. $35.00

Tom Hand’s An American Triumph: America’s Founding Era through the Lives of Ben Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams masterfully blends the personal experiences and historic milestones of these three Founding Fathers into an engaging narrative written for the everyday American. Through a collection of captivating stories from Ben Franklin’s birth in 1706 to the passing of John Adams on July 4, 1826, An American Triumph focuses on the momentous events where Franklin, Washington, and Adams played a vital role. Several “why it matters” sidebars as well as vignettes on other influential persons, impactful occasions and significant documents provide a broader view of America’s creation and inform readers of often overlooked but still noteworthy topics. These stories, along with over 130 full-color images and a dozen beautifully detailed maps, help make An American Triumph both educational and entertaining, leading to a deeper appreciation of our nation’s founding generation and inspiring a greater sense of love of country.

The Pursuit of Happiness: How Classical Writers on Virtue Inspired the Lives of the Founders and Defined America

by Jeffrey Rosen  (Simon & Schuster ISBN 978-1668002476 (02/13/2024) 368 pgs. $28.99

A fascinating examination of what “the pursuit of happiness” meant to our nation’s Founders and how that famous phrase defined their lives and became the foundation of our democracy. The Declaration of Independence identified “the pursuit of happiness” as one of our unalienable rights, along with life and liberty. Jeffrey Rosen, the president of the National Constitution Center, profiles six of the most influential founders—Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton—to show what pursuing happiness meant in their lives.  By reading the classical Greek and Roman moral philosophers who inspired the Founders, Rosen shows us how they understood the pursuit of happiness as a quest for being good, not feeling good—the pursuit of lifelong virtue, not short-term pleasure. Among those virtues were the habits of industry, temperance, moderation, and sincerity, which the Founders viewed as part of a daily struggle for self-improvement, character development, and calm self-mastery. They believed that political self-government required personal self-government. For all six Founders, the pursuit of virtue was incompatible with the enslavement of African Americans, although the Virginians betrayed their own principles. The Pursuit of Happiness is more than an elucidation of the Declaration’s famous phrase; it is a revelatory journey into the Founders’ minds and a deep, rich, and fresh understanding of the foundation of our democracy.

The Unexpected Abigail Adams: A Woman “Not Apt to Be Intimidated”

by John L. Smith (Westholme) ISBN 978-1594164217 (03/01/2024) 400 pgs. $32.50

In The Unexpected Abigail Adams: A Woman “Not Apt to Be Intimidated”, writer and researcher John L. Smith, Jr., draws on more than two thousand letters of Abigail’s (most of which were preserved), spanning from the 1760s to her death in 1818. In this priceless documentation of one of the most important periods of world history she comments on the varied personalities she encountered—personal and historic snapshots of the time. While John Adams was away from home, for months and sometimes years at a time serving in the Continental Congresses and as a diplomatic envoy in Europe for the fledgling United States, she wrote him frequently about their home in Massachusetts, their family, and, during the early years of the war, crucial information concerning revolutionary activities around Boston. The Unexpected Abigail Adams presents sides of Abigail’s life that are not covered by the standard, retold biographies. The author interweaves Abigail’s colorful correspondence—some of which has not appeared in print before—with a contextual narrative. The result is a revealing portrait of a remarkable woman that modern readers will find very relatable. Having read and studied nearly her entire correspondence, the author has selected humorous moments, poignant reflections, and unique historical descriptions. The result is an unexpected Abigail Adams, one that transforms how she is perceived and recognizes her sagacious counsel during the formation of the United States.

Fall 2023

Waging War in America 1775-1783: Operational Challenges of Five Armies

By Don Hagist (Helion and Company) ISBN 978-1804513460, 224 pages (12/30/23) $39.00

Studies of the campaigns of the 1775-1783 American War for Independence often suffer for lack of understanding operational aspects of the armies involved. This collection of essays looks at many facets of military operations in America, showing how the armies involved adapted their recruitment, training, tactics and logistics to the specific challenges of this war. British, French, Spanish, German (in the form of regiments from individual states), and the nascent Continental Army. The European forces adapted – much more readily than they are given credit for – to the needs of this particular conflict. This collection of essays examines various aspects of the problems faced by each of these forces, and the solutions that they achieved. Throughout their writings conventional wisdom is challenged, and established assumptions are dispelled by well-documented evidence, showing the real strengths and weaknesses of wide array of professional and part-time military organizations involved in this world-changing war.

God Save Benedict Arnold! The True Story of America’s Most Hated Man

by Jack Kelly  (St. Martin’s Press) ISBN 978-1250281951 (12/05/2023) 321 pgs. $29.00

A gripping exploration of the intense psychology and character of Benedict Arnold, arguing that he was essential to victory before he was a traitor Benedict Arnold committed treason― for more than two centuries, that’s all that most Americans have known about him. Yet Arnold was much more than a turncoat―his achievements during the early years of the Revolutionary War defined him as the most successful soldier of the era. GOD SAVE BENEDICT ARNOLD tells the gripping story of Arnold’s rush of audacious feats―his capture of Fort Ticonderoga, his Maine mountain expedition to attack Quebec, the famous artillery brawl at Valcour Island, the turning-point battle at Saratoga―that laid the groundwork for our independence.

The Times That Try Men’s Souls: The Adams, the Quincys, and the Battle for Loyalty in the American Revolution

by Joyce Lee Malcolm (Pegasus Books) ISBN 978-1639364756 (12/5/23) 288 pgs. $29.95 

A compelling, intimate history of the Revolutionary period through a series of charismatic and ambitious families, revealing how the American Revolution was, in many ways, a civil war. In The Times That Try Men’s Soul, Joyce Lee Malcolm masterfully traces the origins and experience of that division during the American Revolution—the growing political disagreements, the intransigence of colonial and government officials swelling into a flood of intolerance, intimidation and mob violence. In that tidal wave opportunities for reconciliation were lost. Those loyal to the royal government fled into exile and banishment, or stayed home to support British troops. Patriots risked everything in a fight they seemed destined to lose. Many people simply hoped against hope to get on with ordinary life in extraordinary times.

Founding Partisans: Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, Adams and the Brawling Birth of American Politics

by H. W. Brands (Doubleday) ISBN 978-0385549240 (11/07/2023) 456 pgs. $39.95

From bestselling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist H.W. Brands, a revelatory history of the shocking emergence of vicious political division at the birth of the United States. To the framers of the Constitution, political parties were a fatal threat to republican virtues. They had suffered the consequences of partisan politics in Britain before the American Revolution, and they wanted nothing similar for America. Yet parties emerged even before the Constitution was ratified, and they took firmer root in the following decade. In Founding Partisans, master historian H. W. Brands has crafted a fresh and lively narrative of the early years of the republic as the Founding Fathers fought one another with competing visions of what our nation would be.

Summer 2023

In Dependence: Women and the Patriarchal State in Revolutionary America

by Jacqueline Beatty (New York University Press) ISBN 978-1479812127 (04/25/23) 272 pgs. $39.00

 Patriarchal forces of law, finance, and social custom restricted women’s rights and agency in revolutionary America. Yet women in this period exploited these confines, transforming constraints into vehicles of female empowerment. Through a close reading of thousands of legislative, judicial, and institutional pleas across seventy years of history in three urban centers, Jacqueline Beatty illustrates the ways in which women in the revolutionary era asserted their status as dependents, demanding the protections owed to them as the assumed subordinates of men. They claimed various forms of aid and assistance, won divorce suits, and defended themselves and their female friends despite patriarchal assumptions about their powerlessness. Ultimately, women in the revolutionary era could advocate for themselves and express a relative degree of power not despite their dependent status but because of it.

Disunion Among Ourselves: The Perilous Politics of the American Revolution, 1776-1782

by Eli Merritt (University of Missouri Press) ISBN 978-0826222817 (06/4/2023) 456 pgs. $39.95

Instead of disbanding into separate regional confederacies, the founders managed to unite for the sake of liberty and self-preservation. In so doing, they succeeded in holding the young nation together. To achieve this, they forged grueling compromises, including Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Mississippi-Fisheries Compromise of 1779, and the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1781.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Britain and the American Dream

by Peter Moore (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) ISBN 9780374600594 (06/27/2023) 592 pgs. $35.00

Centered on the life of Benjamin Franklin, and featuring figures including the cultural giant Samuel Johnson, the firebrand politician John Wilkes, and revolutionary activist Thomas Paine, this book looks at the generation that preceded the Declaration in 1776. Everyone, it seemed, had “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” on their minds; Moore shows why and reveals how these still-nascent ideals made their way across an ocean and started a revolution.

A Maritime History of the American Revolutionary War: An Atlantic-Wide Conflict over Independence and Empire

By Theodore Corbett (Pen & Sword) ISBN 9781399040419 (06/30/23) $34.95

While many books have been written on the naval history of the Revolution, this is one of the first to treat it as an Atlantic-wide conflict. Its geographical scope is vast, featuring overlooked aspects of the war in which sloops and barges fought, actions that proved to be as decisive as the familiar ship-of-the-line confrontations. It emphasizes the role of the crew as much as the not-always-heroic officers.

Spring 2023

TO THE LAST EXTREMITY: The Battles for Charleston, 1776-1782

by Mark Maloy (Savas Beatie) ISBN 978-161121643 (04/15/2023) 192 pgs. $16.95

June 1776: Just a month before America declared its independence from Great Britain, a British fleet of warships and thousands of British soldiers appeared off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. Following a brutal day-long battle, the most powerful navy in the world was bloodily repulsed by the Americans. One in the series of excellent guides written by members of the Emerging Revolutionary War Era blog troop. Learn more at www.emergingrevolutionarywar.org

FIRST FAMILY: George Washington’s Heirs and the Making of America

by Cassandra A. Good Hanover Square Press, ISBN 9781335449511 (May 10, 2023), 320 pgs., $32.99

Award-winning historian Cassandra Good shows how the outspoken step-grandchildren of George Washington played an overlooked but important role in the development of American society and politics from the Revolution to the Civil War.

UNITED FOR INDEPENDENCE: The American Revolution in the Middle Colonies, 1775–1776

by Michael Cecere, ISBN 9781594164026 (Westholme) 6/9/2023 288 pgs., $30

This excellent narrative how the inhabitants of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland reacted to the outbreak of war in Massachusetts. Leaders in these middle colonies, influenced by strong Loyalist sentiment within their borders and, in some cases, among themselves, fiercely debated whether to support the war in New England. Congress’s decision in the summer to establish a continental army, and its authorization for an invasion of Canada, which involved troops from the middle colonies, set the stage for their full-scale involvement in the Revolutionary War.

WASHINGTON’S MARINES: The Origins of the Corps and the American Revolution, 1775-1777

by Jason Q. Bohm, MG, USMC: ISBN 9781611216264, (Savas Beatie) 6/15/23 360 pgs. $32.95

Meticulously researched, Bohm writes a stirring narrative that presents the birth of the legendary United States Marine Corps that set the standard for the few and the proud. Rallying to Washington’s call for all available units during “…the times that tried men’s souls”, the Continental Marines took part in some of the most critical early actions that turned the tide of the Revolution. Bohm’s WASHINGTON’S MARINES, is breathtakingly cinematic storytelling, not to be missed.

Fall 2022

THE ENEMY HARASSED: Washington’s New Jersey Campaign of 1777

By Jim Stempel ISBN 9781637586150 (Knox Press) 2/28/23 400 pgs., $24

As few books regarding American history have achieved, Jim Stempel’s The Enemy Harassed brings a previously neglected period of the American Revolution to life. During this critical period of the American Revolution, between the “Ten Crucial Days” and the Philadelphia campaign Washington stubbornly refused to be drawn out into the open to go head-to-head with the more powerful Crown troops but rather continuously stung the enemy with skirmishes and minor engagements during a brutal foraging war.

REVOLUTIONARY ROADS Searching for the War That Made America Independent…and All the Places It Could Have Gone Terribly Wrong

By Bob Thompson, ISBN 978-1455565153 (Twelve) 2/7/2023 432 pgs., $32

A fun and surprising re-examination of all those heroes and battles of the Revolution, the author visits the past in person and separates fact from fiction. This book takes readers on a time-traveling adventure through the crucial places American independence was won and might have been lost. You’ll ride shotgun with Bob Thompson as he puts more than 20,000 miles on his car, not to mention his legs; walks history-shaping battlefields from Georgia to Quebec; and hangs out with passionate lovers of revolutionary history whose vivid storytelling and deep knowledge of their subject enrich his own.

AMERICAN INHERITANCE: Liberty and Slavery in the Birth of a Nation, 1765-1795

By Edward J. Larsen, WW Norton, ISBN 978-0393882209 (January 17, 2023), 368 pgs., $32.50

With historians and journalists raising pointed questions about the founding period, we have long needed a history that fully includes Black Americans in the Revolutionary protests, the war, and the debates over slavery and freedom that followed. From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larsen comes this powerful history that reveals how the twin strands of liberty and slavery were joined in the nation’s founding.


By Robert A. Gross (Picador) ISBN 9781250822949 (11/8/2022) 368 pgs,. $19

A remarkably subtle and detailed reconstruction of the lives and community, this book is a compelling interpretation of the American Revolution as a social movement. First published in 1976, it is reissued now in a revised and expanded edition with a new preface and afterword by the author. Winner of the Bancroft Prize.

Summer 2022

THE FOUNDERS’ FORTUNES: How Money Shaped the Birth of America

By Willard Sterne Randall, Dutton,  ‏978-1524745929 (February 8, 2022) 336 pgs., $29

“Historians have attributed the American Revolution to ideology, nationalism, and restless ambition, but in this thoughtful book, Willard Sterne Randall reminds readers that the pursuit of economic gain was also a decisive motivating factor. Some merchants, land speculators, penniless lawyers, and debt-ridden office holders glimpsed a better material future through American independence, and some found that their dreams came true under the new national government in the 1790s. The Founders’ Fortunes is a rewarding reconsideration of the birth of the American nation, all the more so in this time of an enhanced awareness of our frayed social fabric and economic inequities.” ~ John Ferling, author of Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781

POOR RICHARD’S WOMEN: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father

By Nancy Rubin Stuart, Beacon Press, 978-0807011300, (March 15, 2022) 224 pgs., $26.95

A vivid portrait of the women who loved, nurtured, and defended America’s famous scientist and founding father.  “An engrossing look at the human side of Benjamin Franklin . . . Using a post-feminist lens that’s critical of gender essentialism, Stuart rescues these women from obscurity . . . This is a terrific read: poignant, provocative, and probing.”  ~ Library Journal, Starred Review

DARK VOYAGE: An American Privateer’s War on Britain’s African Slave Trade

By Christian McBurney, Westholme 978-1594163821 (July 5, 2022) 384 pgs., $35

At the start of the American War of Independence, Great Britain dominated overseas commerce and was the leading slave-trading nation in the world. In 1776, American privateers—privately owned ships granted commissions by the Continental Congress to attack and disrupt enemy trade—began to prey on British merchantmen.   In Dark Voyage: An American Privateer’s War on Britain’s African Slave Trade, veteran researcher and writer Christian McBurney recreates the harrowing voyage of the Marlborough while placing it in the context of Atlantic World slavery.

REBELS AT SEA: Privateering in the American Revolution

By Eric Jay Dolin, WW Norton 978-163149825 (May 31, 2022) 344 pgs., $32.50 “Yet another maritime masterpiece by one of the top historians of the oceans! Rebels at Sea is a brilliant exposition of a little-understood and underappreciated part of the American Revolution underway. Like his earlier works, it is full of fresh thinking and sharply observed anecdotes that both inform and delight. Eric Jay Dolin’s books deserve a prominent place on every sailor’s bookshelf. ~Admiral James Stavridis, 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, and author of The Sailor’s Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea

Spring 2022

FORT TICONDEROGA, THE LAST CAMPAIGNS: The War in the North, 1777–1783

By Mark Edward Lender, Westholme, ISBN 978-1594163838 (April 28, 2022), 256 pgs., $30

During the War for Independence, Fort Ticonderoga’s guns, sited critically between Lakes Champlain and George, dominated north-south communications in upstate New York that were vital to both the British and American war efforts. In the public mind Ticonderoga was the “American Gibraltar” or the “Key to the Continent,” and patriots considered holding the fort essential to the success of the Revolutionary cause.


WOMEN IN GEORGE WASHINGTON’S WORLD by Charlene M. Boyer Lewis (Edited by), George W. Boudreau (Edited by), University of Virginia Press ISBN 978-0813947440 (May 26, 2022), 240 pgs., $34.95

George Washington lived in an age of revolutions, during which he faced political upheaval, war, economic change, and social shifts. These revolutions affected American women in profound ways, and the women Washington knew—personally, professionally, and politically—lived lives that reveal these multifaceted transformations. Although Washington often operated in male-dominated arenas, he participated in complex and meaningful relationships with women from across society.


AFRICAN FOUNDERS: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals

by David Hackett Fischer, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1982145095 (May 31, 2022), 800 pgs. $40, also available in audio

In this sweeping, foundational work, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer draws on extensive research to show how enslaved Africans and their descendants enlarged American ideas of freedom in varying ways in different regions of the early United States.


FEEDING WASHINGTON’S ARMY: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778 

By Ricardo Herrera, University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 978-1469667317

(June 14, 2022) 272pgs., $28, also available in audio

In this major new history of the Continental Army’s Grand Forage of 1778, award-winning military historian Ricardo A. Herrera uncovers what daily life was like for soldiers during the darkest and coldest days of the American Revolution, the Valley Forge winter.


Books available at your library, or wherever books are sold. Book descriptions are marketing copy.