Russell Shorto is an American author, historian, and journalist. Shorto writes narrative history – that is, he writes about history in story-based form. His focuses on how history impacts people in the stories; as he says about his books, “I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict.” Shorto has written six books in all, and he’s most well-known for The Island at the Center of the World, a book about the founding of Manhattan by Dutch colonists. He’s also written for the New Yorker, The New York Times, and Time, among other publications.
His newest book, Revolution Song, is a narrative history of the American Revolution. Using diaries, letters, and autobiographies, Shorto gives us the story of the Revolution through the eyes of six people – a freed slave and his family; a Native American; a New York lawyer; the daughter of a British officer; Lord George Sackville, the British Secretary of State in American during the Revolution; and George Washington. The book has received remarkable praise, called “brilliant, captivating, and fast-paced,” a “polyphonic story, simultaneously grand and intimate,” and “a tour de force” by historians, authors, and book reviewers.