Some “Revolutionary” Books for Your Library

By Richard Hallman, M.Ln.hamilton graphic-2

A popular show or movie can spur new interest in a wide array of older books. Although I am not a huge musical theater fan, I do live with one. Hardly a day goes by without a discussion having to do with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Hamilton.” And the coffee table book that bears the show’s name is on our coffee table!

Hamilton: The Revolution        9781455539741
Miranda, Lin-Manuel               04/12/2016


The idea for the show came from Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton. To paraphrase a little, it explains how the man whose face adorns the ten dollar bill – a founding father without a father – got a lot further by working a lot harder, being a lot smarter, and being a self-starter.

Alexander Hamilton              9781594200090
Chernow, Ron                        04/26/2004



Chernow also wrote a compelling biography about George Washington, the “Pride of Mount Vernon” and father of our country. Washington was Hamilton’s surrogate father, and Hamilton was his right hand man.

Washington: A Life              9781594202667
Chernow, Ron                      10/05/2010


In the show, Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton’s beloved sister-in-law, has been reading “Common Sense,” by Thomas Paine, when she declares, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, and when I meet Thomas Jefferson I’m’a compel him to include women in the sequel!”

Common Sense                    9780062695529
Paine, Thomas                    06/06/2017

Federalist Papers Cover


Hamilton joined with James Madison and John Jay to write “The Federalist Papers,” promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, who was a non-stop writer, personally penned 51 of the 85 essays.

The Federalist Papers             9781631064241
Hamilton, Alexander              10/01/2017


Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, otherwise known as the Marquis de Lafayette, was America’s favorite fighting Frenchman and another fascinating character from Revolutionary times. Sarah Vowell put her quirky spin on his historic activities.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States             9781594631740
Vowell, Sarah                                                          10/20/2015

John Laurens Cover


Fans of the show and of history will want to know more about Hamilton’s good friend John Laurens, the man who promised to “sally in on a stallion with the first black battalion.”

John Laurens and the American Revolution        9781611176124
Massey, Gregory De Van                                        09/15/2015


Another notable line from the show comes when Hamilton asks, “Why should a tiny island across the sea regulate the price of tea?”

The Boston Tea Party: No Taxation Without Representation               9781499417265
Tovar, Alicia                                                                                              08/01/2015

American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked a Revolution               9780306820793
Unger, Harlow Giles                                                                                               03/06/2012

Tea Party + Tempest Cover Combo


The show-stopping moment comes from King George III, who is flabbergasted upon learning that his subjects have left him. He says, “What comes next? You’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead? You’re on your own. Awesome. Wow. Do you have a clue what happens now?”

King George: What Was His Problem? : Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You …         9781250075772
Sheinkin, Steve                                                                                                                                  09/22/2015

The Founding Fathers vs. King George III: The Fight for a New Nation              9781482422177
Roxburgh, Ellis                                                                                                            01/01/2015

King George WWHP + Founding Fathers Cover Combo


Want to know more about the “damn fool” who shot Hamilton? Although this title is pure fiction, the main character is based on the very real Aaron Burr, and was used to develop the character in the show.

Burr: A Novel            9780375708732
Vidal, Gore                02/15/2000

Click here for an interesting article about Aaron Burr from



And finally, the dramatic finish:  “Most disputes die and no one shoots.”

War of Two: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Duel that Stunned The Nation           9781592408528
Sedgwick, John                                                                                                                                 10/20/2015

Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr: Duel to the Death        9781482422139
Roxburgh, Ellis                                                                           01/01/2015

  War of Two + Alex Ham vs Aaron Burr Cover Combo                           

“Hamilton” is in the midst of a sold-out national tour, with an educational component that is expected to reach nearly 100,000 high school students. Libraries can expect huddled masses yearning to read more.


Richard Hallman, M.Ln.


Budding collection developer Richard Hallman finally set aside his dreams of becoming a rock star, movie director, and/or famous novelist to embrace librarianship. Click here for more.

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