Five great books to put the fireworks in your Fourth of July celebration:
1. 1776 by David McCullough
So good I’ve read it twice! 1776 is an exciting and thorough survey of that most seminal year in our country’s history. If you are only going to read one book about the founding of the United States of America, this might be it. Once you experience McCullough’s genial mastery of America’s history, however, you will probably want to move along straightaway and read the very fine…
2. John Adams by David McCullough
You could, of course, hedge and watch the also very fine HBO adaptation of McCullough’s book, but after seeing it, you’ll want to read the book anyway. It is that good! Adams did not cut the most fascinating figure, but his thoughtfulness and commitment to the republic was unwavering. His contributions as a statesman and diplomat are writ large in our early history. “The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” – John Adams
3. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for biography, Chernow’s splendid book will leave you in awe of George Washington, his wisdom, selflessness and the sacrifices he made again and again to set the course of our country. For me, this book ignited an interest in American history.
4. Miracle At Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May – September 1787 by Catherine Drinker Bowen
The title is not exactly a firecracker, but I find myself recommending this book over and over as an articulate and absorbing narrative of the passionate and often contentious debates that ultimately birthed our nation’s Constitution.
5. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
This book is a companion to the Emmy-award-winning PBS documentary series and, while I have not read it, I hope to, given that reviewers claim it will actually give you goose bumps! What better way to spend the Fourth of July than browsing through these pages!
Here’s to the red, white and blue! Happy Fourth!