July 1, 2015

Fourth Of July Playlist: 5 Shows That Celebrate America’s Independence

By Erica R. Hendry

America turns 239 years old this year. To celebrate, we’ve pulled five of our favorite shows on the American Revolution and the fight for independence. After all: It’s never too late to learn something new.

  1. “Independence Lost”: Kathleen DuVal. History books fill chapters about the Revolutionary War with images of Paul Revere, militia men. But there are plenty of other people we should be including, says Kathleen DuVal, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among them: Slaves and Cajun exile, who fought with the British along the gulf coast, and Native Americans. She shares their stories in her new book.
  2. Danielle Allen: “Our Declaration: You probably can name the men who signed our nation’s founding document. But have you actually read it? In this 2014 interview, Danielle Allen breaks down the Declaration of Independence — and what it says about our democracy today.
  3. David McCullough: “1776” (Simon & Schuster): We celebrate July 4 as a day of Independence. But David McCullough dives into the months leading up to America’s freedom, in this book and his 2005 interview, weaving together stories from both sides of the Atlantic.
  4. Nathaniel Philbrick: “Bunker Hill”: In 1775, Boston was home to 15,000 people: Vigilantes, political activists, loyalists and British soldiers all packed into a space that spanned just a mile. Tensions there exploded on Bunker Hill, where an unlikely group of citizen soldiers waged an attack against the British. In 2013, Nathaniel Philbrick gave us another look at what would become  the bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War — and how it shaped America’s victory.
  5. Gordon Wood: “The Idea of America”:  Was the American Revolution the most significant event in U.S. history? That’s the argument Gordon Wood made in 2011 as he talked about his new collection of essays.




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