Independence Day

A historical, biographical, and literary celebration.



Inventing America

By Garry Wills


One of our foremost political historians compares Jefferson's initial draft of the Declaration of Independence with the final document, uncovering a far different original intent than the final version shows and offering readers a fresh perspective on both the Declaration and Jefferson's political thinking.






By David McCullough


The award-winning historian restores to the fateful year its perilous immediacy and heroic human dimension. Detailing how military mishaps early in 1776 were salvaged by the great American victory at Trenton, McCullough draws an especially vivid portrait of George Washington and the revolutionaries who answered his call.




Independence Day

By Richard Ford


In this Pulitzer Prize-winner, Ford follows middle-aged realtor Frank Bascombe through the course of a fateful July 4th weekend as he struggles with work, ex-wife, girlfriend, and children. Its deceptively casual literary art makes this one of the most engaging, valuable, and telling novels of the past two decades.





American Sphinx

By Joseph J. Ellis


In his insightful portrait of the most intellectually complicated of the Founders, Ellis reveals the character of Thomas Jefferson while explaining the intellectual currents that influenced his thought, detailing his debt to political thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Winner of a 1997 National Book Award.




American Scripture 

By Pauline Maier


Maier's brilliant intellectual history of America's founding document traces the roots and branches of the Declaration from its drafting through its sanctification in the nineteenth century and its enduring significance. Along the way, it illuminates many of the ideas and events that have shaped our national identity.


July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).