Russell Shorto

Revolution Song

From the author of the acclaimed history The Island at the Center of the World, an intimate new epic of the American Revolution that reinforces its meaning for today. “…a decidedly refreshing approach… Shorto’s achievement is a remarkable one” — The New York Times Book Review. “A tour de force” — Gordon S. Wood, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution.

Russell Shorto’s work has been praised as “first-rate intellectual history” (Wall Street Journal), “literary alchemy” (Chicago Tribune) and simply “astonishing” (New York Times). In his epic new book, Russell Shorto takes us back to the founding of the American nation, drawing on diaries, letters and autobiographies to flesh out six lives that cast the era in a fresh new light. They include an African man who freed himself and his family from slavery, a rebellious young woman who abandoned her abusive husband to chart her own course and a certain Mr. Washington, who was admired for his social graces but harshly criticized for his often-disastrous military strategy.

Through these lives we understand that the revolution was fought over the meaning of individual freedom, a philosophical idea that became a force for violent change. A powerful narrative and a brilliant defense of American values, Revolution Song makes the compelling case that the American Revolution is still being fought today and that its ideals are worth defending.


Earlier Books

Amsterdam

"Shorto conjures the anything-goes spirit of contemporary Amsterdam, with its pot-smoking and red-light districts, from the city's fascinating past as a major port city. "

The Island at the Center of the World

The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan, and the Founding Colony that Shaped America The Island at the Center of the World is a narrative history of Manhattan’s founding. 

About the Author

  I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have three children (Anna, Eva and Anthony) and three step-children (Reinier, Hector and Benjamin).  I write books of narrative history; I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict. My books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards.  I am senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. My interests include the past, the present and the future, not necessarily in that order.  

photo by Keke Keukelaar