Reading List for Patriots

I’ve put together a few patriotic books that I have really enjoyed – so much so that I plan on returning to them for a second, third, or fourth read.

John Adams 2

John Adams by David McCullough

It’s my goal to read a biography on every U.S. president and John Adams not only depicts one of the best, moral, upright men who have presided over our country, but McCullough’s book is quite possibly one of the greatest, gripping, and engaging biographies I have ever read, and probably will ever read. You will frequently hear readers of the book lament coming to the end of the book, aching for more, long as the book is. It reads like a movie, and you will actually feel like John Adams is a true friend by the end.

close to shore

Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo

Think small-town America off of a New Jersey coast. The year is 1916. Beaches were just recently seen as recreational turf for outings and vacations. The ocean was seen as a big, safe, swimming pool. And the great white shark was believed to be as harmless as a puppy. Close to Shore captures the first known recorded shark attacks on American soil, in an age where violence in the waters was unheard of. This story inspired Peter Benchley’s Jaws which gave us one of the greatest American films of all time by director Stephen Spielberg. But Close to Shore is so fascinating, so unimaginable, that it would not be believed if it were written as fiction.


1776 by David McCullough

In McCullough’s detailed account of the monumental events in 1776, you have a much clearer and polished appreciation for the odds our forefathers were up against in the Revolutionary War. Not surprisingly, General Washington’s genius will blow your mind. And you will understand just how devastatingly close the Americans were to not winning our freedom. An intriguing, and sometimes suspenseful read. Another great by McCullough.


Devil in the White City by Eric Larson

History and fiction buffs unite! There’s something about America’s past that makes me well up inside. This book recreates America’s prime, and the author never bores when describing the pure-white city “as bright as Heaven itself, and so majestic that the Court of Honor alone brought grown men to tears upon seeing it.” Suspense seekers and history buffs ought to check this book out. It’s a lot of fun and very fascinating. And you will walk away with a deeper appreciation of the roots of America’s greatness, and why we are still the greatest country in the world 120 years later.


Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry

No other sport screams American pride like baseball, and in this book you will get a lot of both – baseball and American pride. Another book set in New Jersey, two triple-A teams pitted against each other on the day before Easter, April 18, 1981, neither knowing that they are about to go down in history as the longest professional baseball game ever. Even baseball naysayers will get caught up in the poet-like writing of Barry’s fascinating account. This is one of my all-time favorite books.


Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

Mr. Disney. Walt. One of my favorite men in history, who created the most beloved empire the world has ever known. Gabler’s meticulous account of Walt Disney’s life is eye-opening and truly fascinating, and is a true rags-to-riches story that will make anyone believe that if you are persistent enough, clever enough, and talented enough, you can make it anywhere in America.


George Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

And of course, no patriotic reading list would be complete without the life of George Washington, our nation’s first President. Earlier I praised McCullough’s John Adams as being the best biography ever written – this book is just a tick below, only because Washington, as a man, was not as personable and warm as Adams was. So no biographer in the world could create a personal attachment between the great Washington and his readers. But Chernow, I believe, did the greatest job that could ever be expected. Thought this is probably the longest book I have ever read, I will gladly be revisiting it as soon as I can, so fascinating it was.

Please feel free to share some of your favorite patriotic book recommendations below, we’d love to hear from you!



Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

13 thoughts on “Reading List for Patriots

  1. Check out, “The Light and the Glory”, by Peter Marshall. This is an awe-inspiring look at God’s plan for America and His work through her history. It’s written by Peter Marshall, who is the son of the famous Senate Chaplain by the same name and mother Katherine Marshal, who wrote “A Man Called Peter”, and also “Christy”.


  2. “George Washington” by Ron Chernow is my favorite of the 76 presidential biographies I’ve read so far, and “John Adams” isn’t far behind. “1776” is on my must-read list and I’ve even got the Disney bio sitting on my shelf. Great minds think alike?!?


    1. I think so. There are plenty to choose from when I get to Lincoln and some of the other greats – any recommendations for those?


      1. I loved “Team of Rivals” as well as the more traditional Lincoln bios by Burlingame, White, Donald and Thomas. You can’t go wrong with any of those.


        1. I might have to check out Team of Rivals. I’ve thought about avoiding it since the movie didn’t capture as much of Lincoln’s life as I had hoped.


  3. Just finished reading Coolidge by Amity Shlaes. A lot of detail on economics and treaties, tariffs, but also a very informative look on a President who knew how to say NO, who knew how to treat the office, who knew how to run a government’s budget. So utterly different from today’s views on government.


  4. I’ve read the first four and they are very good. Pauline Maier’s Ratification is a very good look at the Constitutional convention and the fight to ratify, though it’s big and perhaps a little dry.


  5. I am amazed at how anyone can reconcile the teachings of Jesus with evil. The United States was founded upon the backs of slaves, and through the outright murder of the Indigenous people. Our lands and resources were stolen by men like George Washington. Over 100 million Indigenous suffered and died as a result of the European Invasion, and men like George Washington. The greatest act of genocide the world has ever seen happened right here. The Jewish Holocaust pales in comparison.

    Kidnapping is a crime. Morally, it always has been, regardless of laws that for nearly 500 years made it legal in America. In spite of the fact that slavery was legal and sanctioned by the Catholic Church, ( See Pope Nicholas V: Dum Diversas) all men in America of European origin did “not” own slaves. Kidnapping for ransom is bad enough, but to kidnap someone and force them into a lifetime of slavery is the very worst.

    George Washington was a slave owner, which made him, Jefferson, and all of the other miscreants who participated in this crime against God, and humanity, the most despicable breed of criminal. This continent was free before the European came. George Washington, like those who preceded him and those who followed, only came to subjugate and steal. God Bless America? Really? Sorry, I don’t think so: Matthew 7:21 – 23

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’


    1. America was not founded by perfect people, and like individual histories and family histories and church histories, American history certainly has its blots and scars; things to be ashamed of. But when looked at as a whole, and through the lens of 200 years, America has come a long way. We no longer own slaves, women are finally valued in the way they ought, and though America is not perfect even now, we still strive to bring justice to the world. I’m sorry you feel this way about our country, but this piece of land has been instrumental in millions of people living their lives for the glory of God (or not living their lives for His glory if they choose), and I am thankful for every man and woman who has fought and died to protect this land and our freedom. It came at a great cost, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other land in the world – imperfect as it is.


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