quirk books

Pre-Order Now: Signing Their Lives / Rights Away!

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Just a quick and dirty reminder that paperback versions of two of our most popular books are out in just 15 days! We’d love to make as big a splash with them as we did when they first came out in hardcover, so please do pre-order them if you’re interested.

I’m pretty proud of this duo. We spent a good chunk of time last year revising both books with some new tidbits and details that came to light after the first series pubbed nearly a decade ago.

A reminder:

  • Signing Their Lives Away was the first in the series, and tells the true story of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence.

  • The later book, Signing Their Rights Away, tells the story of the 39 men who signed the Constitution. Both books are illustrated with portraits of the men.

In its review of the second book, The Wall Street Journal said:

“[The authors]...maintain a refreshing reverence for the Constitution itself. Rather than ask readers to believe that an ‘assembly of demigods’ (Jefferson’s words) wrote the Constitution, Ms. Kiernan and Mr. D’Agnese challenge the notion that the group that crafted this document of enduring genius was uniquely brilliant or visionary. If this raises the question of how exactly the miracle was accomplished, it should at least give readers some hope for our own seemingly uninspired political era.”

To which I respond: Yep. Pretty much. The amazing thing about both sets of signers is how they break down into the famous and the obscure. You have greats like Jefferson, John and Samuel Adams, Hancock, Ben Franklin and so on, and then you have men like John Morton or John Hart who signed the Declaration and went on to do very little else on the national stage.

And you have men like Gouverneur Morris, who wrote that beautiful preamble to the U.S. Constitution and who was a colorful figure in his lifetime—a playboy Casanova with a wooden leg!—but whom I venture to say most people have never heard of.

So that’s the breadth of these men. The bright, the clever, the unknowns—all cheek by jowl with absolute scoundrels, some of whom stole money from Congress or ended up in debtor’s prison thanks to their own greed or stupidity.

And they all founded the U.S. of A.

Both books were written with a good deal of humor, but I hope you can feel the reverence amid the irreverence.

Please do check them out. You can find all your buy options here. If you want autographed copies, please PHONE our local bookstore, Malaprops, and give them the specifics.

Just don’t expect me to sign with a quill pen.

Yes, I am trying to post here more often. Thank you for noticing. If you want to sign up for my newsletter and claim your free ebook, go here. Thanks — Joseph D’Agnese

Huzzah! My July 4th Book Is On Sale!

Fourth of July is coming up, so it's a good time to let people know about my three popular history titles from Philly's own Quirk Books. One's on the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Another's about the signers of the U.S. Constitution. And the title of the last one says it all: Stuff Every American Should Know. All these books are available through the usual suspects, which you can find below. The Kindle ebook version of the Declaration book, Signing Their Lives Away, is on sale right now for $3.99 on Amazon. I don't know how long that sale's running, so you'd better grab it soon if you're at all curious. The book is a light-hearted, witty look at the men behind the founding document of the USA.

If you're in the market for a Ben Franklin or Tom Jefferson T-shirt, look no further.

If you want an autographed copy, contact my local bookstore, Malaprop's.

Good morrow to you all, good sires and ladies. Enjoy the Fourth.




My Quirk book's on sale for Constitution Day

Today, September 17th, is Constitution Day in the United States. It’s not nearly as well celebrated as Fourth of July, but it’s arguably more significant. Two hundred and twenty-eight years ago, 39 men in Philadelphia signed the document that would soon become the U.S. Constitution. You can take a fun quiz here at the Washington Post to refresh your memory on those events.

My publisher, Quirk Books, is running a sale on my book about that event. Right now the e-book version of Signing Their Rights Away is under $4 across all platforms—Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo. (Predictably, Amazon is the cheapest last time I checked: $3.01.)

Of all the books I’ve done with Quirk, Rights is my favorite. It’s the best written, the best designed, and the best illustrated. I had a lot of fun writing it. I don’t know how long the sale is running, but definitely check it out if you’re at all interested.

Weird Doings Over at Diesel

Weird Doings Over at Diesel

The Diesel bookstore seems to think I co-authored these books, but I swear I didn’t. And before you ask, no, none of these books is a former ghostwriting project of mine. The common denominator seems to be Random House, which has published two of my titles in the past. RH also distributes books on behalf of Quirk, which has published at least five of my titles (three work-for-hires and two bonafide titles of my own). So since I’m in the Quirk-Random database, I guess I ought to chalk this up to a random quirk.