Books for the Hamilton-obsessed
If the massively popular Hamilton musical has you thirsty for more U.S. history, we've got you covered. When asked to share their recommendations for books on the founding of the United States, library staff had too many recommendations to use. Here's our abbreviated list of favorites -- what's on your list?
- •Alexander Hamilton by Ron ChernowThis is, of course, the book that started it all. Learn how an immigrant with no family and no prospects managed to become one of the most powerful men in American history in the book that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit musical.
- •Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin- Manuel MirandaThis companion book to Hamilton: the Musical is a must for anyone who wants all of the behind-the-scenes secrets of the show.
- •The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison"And Hamilton wrote 51!" The original essays by Hamilton, Madison and Jay that convinced American voters to ratify the Constitution. You probably studied them in high school -- this is a great time to revisit those old lessons.
- •1776 by David McCulloughThis title is a companion to McCullough's bestselling biography of John Adams. Either McCullough title is a great starting place if you're interested in the lives of the men who built our nation.
- •War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Dual that Stunned the Nation by John SedgwickMany books have been written about the famous dual at the center of "Hamilton." This well-reviewed 2015 take by John Sedgwick portrays Both Hamilton and Burr with warts and all. Unlike other takes, it doesn't make Burr out to be just a villain. Top recommendation for a balanced overview of their relationship and dual.
- •The People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnThis book tells America's story from the point of view of everyone who didn't make the history books the first time around -- slaves, women, Native Americans, and the working class. This readable volume will make you rethink everything you learned in school.
- •The Americans (series) by John JakesIf you like your history liberally sprinkled in with fictional family drama, you'll love John Jakes "American's" series. Originally published to coincide with the bicentennial, this series follows the Kent family through a series of novels and through the decades, starting in the 1700s with "The Bastard," the story of French immigrant Phillipe Charboneau's quest for the American dream.
- •Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker BradleyHighly recommended by several library staff, this children's chapter book will break your heart no matter what your age. Thomas Jefferson is famous as a founding father, President of the United States, and author of the Declaration of Independence. He also fathered several children with his slave, Sally Hemings. The blurb on the back of the book says it all: "What does it mean when the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence is your father and also your slave master?"
- •Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah VowellVowell's most recent book is a funny look at the many political foibles that occurred leading up to and during the American Revolution - foibles that sometimes look eerily familiar to those seen on today's cable news. The audiobook is highly recommended. Vowell's narration is dry and hilarious -- plus who can beat Parks & Recreation's Nick Offerman as General Washington ("Lafayette's BFF"), Mad Men's John Slattery as the Marquis de Lafayette, and comedian Patton Oswalt voicing Jefferson?
- •John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane SmithWe don't want to forget the littlest Hamilton fans -- this is picture book about the Founding Fathers perfect for young readers and read-alouds. Grown-ups will enjoy the silly humor, too.