American flag with an aged copy of the Declaration of Independence.

6 Books On The Founding of America

Almost 250 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, scholars continue to explore the unexamined elements of our country’s founding. These 6 books provide a look into the historical figures and events that helped shape America into what it is today.

Historical portrait of Powhatan people and early settlers meeting.

Pocahontas and the English Boys
Caught between Cultures in Early Virginia
By Karen Ordahl Kupperman

Pocahontas and the English Boys shifts the lens on the well-known narrative of Virginia’s founding to reveal the previously untold and utterly compelling story of the youths who, often unwillingly, entered into cross-cultural relationships—and became essential for the colony’s survival. The Wall Street Journal said “Kupperman provides a remarkably perceptive and sympathetic portrait of five young people who, with little control over their own fate, found themselves caught up in the dangerously shifting cultural realities of early Jamestown.” 

Historical document with writing on it.

In Dependence
Women and the Patriarchal State in Revolutionary America
By Jacqueline Beatty

Women’s history is often erased, but In Dependence centers the experiences of everyday women whose worlds were changed forever by the American Revolution. Called a “facinating study” by the William and Mary Quarterly, this powerful book explores how the cunning women of this time claimed their rights by playing into their dependent status.

Portraits of John and Abigail Adams displayed over a historical painting of boats on the sea.

A View From Abroad
The Story of John and Abigail Adams in Europe
By Jeanne E. Abrams

The Fourth of July is also a day to celebrate the leaders who fought for our country’s freedoms. A View from Abroad tells the story of one of our founding fathers, John Adams, and his wife Abigail Adams. During their time in Europe, they helped define what it meant to be an American. Kirkus celebrated the book as an “insightful and satisfying history.” 

Detail from embellishments of a 1679 ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract, in the center, bracketed on the left by detail from the kabbalistic tree of life depicting sefirot, or spheres, containing Hebrew terms for aspects of God, and on the right by a portion of a yellowed map of the Americas.

Kabbalah and the Founding of America
The Early Influence of Jewish Thought in the New World

By Brian Ogren

Kabbalah and the Founding of American offers a new picture of Jewish-Christian intellectual exchange in pre-Revolutionary America. Hailed as “captivating” by the Library Journal and “insightful” by Publishers Weekly, this book illustrates how unlikely inter-religious influence helped shape the United States and American identity.

Blue tinted portrait of Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero
An American Warrior Reconsidered

By James Kirby Martin

Called “remarkable” by the Los Angles Times, Benedict Arnold offers a different side to the story of man who most people consider a traitor to America. Martin gives a new perspective on Benedict Arnold’s life set against the tumultuous background of the American Revolution.

Portrait of Albert Gallatin

America’s Swiss Founding Father

By Nicholas Dungan

In our own day, as we look at reforming our financial system and seek to enhance America’s global image, it is well worth resurrecting Albert Gallatin’s timeless contributions to the United States, at home and abroad. Gallatin has been called “eye-opening” by Publishers Weekly and praised for providing a “valuable service” by the Library Journal.