What better way to celebrate America's 236th Independence Day than by reading? These five books provide a fascinating look at our Founding Fathers and the birth of our country. Do you have any favorite patriotic reads? Let us know in the comments.

Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton is a "balanced portrait of the man and his many contradictions," writes BookPage reviewer Roger Bishop. In the book, National Book Award-winner Ron Chernow contends that Hamilton was "the foremost political figure in American history who never attained the presidency, yet he probably had a deeper and more lasting impact than many who did." Read more>>

Benjamin Franklin's Almanac by Candace Fleming was technically written for young adults, although readers of all ages will find value in this biography organized as a "scrapbook of fascinating details," writes reviewer Alice Cary. In the book, Fleming explains why she organized the biography as she did, instead of chronologically: "Innovative, vulgar, sometimes heroic, sometimes flawed, the incredibly complex Ben Franklin I discovered beguiled me, and I was no longer satisfied to tell his story in the ordinary way." Read more>>

Did you know that James Monroe served in more public positions that anyone else in U.S. history? Learn details like this and much, much more in Harlow Unger's must-read biography, The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness. Roger Bishop contends that it is "consistently illuminating and a fine introduction to its subject."
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Do you like a love story plotline in with your history lesson? We recommend First Family by Joesph J. Ellis, an outstanding biography that describes the relationship between Abigail and John Adams, as well as provides an exploration of early American history. Much of the story is based on the 1,200 remaining letters from the Adams' remarkable correspondence.
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Washington: A Life, the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Biography, is one of our favorite biographies from recent years. Reviewer Roger Bishop called it "magisterial," "richly detailed" and "always compelling." Want to know more about the "indispensable Founding Father" than his own family and friends did during his lifetime? Read this wonderful book. Read more>>

Happy reading, and Happy Fourth of July!


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