Welcome to Word After Word Books!



The Small and the Mighty: Twelve Unsung Americans Who Changed the Course of History, from the Founding to the Civil Rights Movement (Hardcover)

Pre-Order Now Badge
The Small and the Mighty: Twelve Unsung Americans Who Changed the Course of History, from the Founding to the Civil Rights Movement By Sharon McMahon Cover Image
Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now!


From America’s favorite government teacher, a heartfelt, inspiring portrait of twelve ordinary Americans whose courage formed the character of our country.

In The Small and the Mighty, Sharon McMahon proves that the most remarkable Americans are often ordinary people who didn’t make it into the textbooks. Not the presidents, but the telephone operators. Not the aristocrats, but the schoolteachers. Through meticulous research, she discovers history’s unsung characters and brings their rich, riveting stories to light for the first time.  

You’ll meet a woman astride a white horse riding down Pennsylvania Ave, a young boy detained at a Japanese incarceration camp, a formerly enslaved woman on a mission to reunite with her daughter, a poet on a train, and a teacher who learns to work with her enemies. More than one thing is bombed, and multiple people surprisingly become rich. Some rich with money, and some wealthy with things that matter more.

This is a book about what really made America – and Americans – great. McMahon’s cast of improbable champions will become familiar friends, lighting the path we journey in our quest to make the world more just, peaceful, good, and free.

About the Author

After years of serving as a high school government and law teacher, Sharon McMahon took her passion for education to Instagram, where more than a million people rely on her for non-partisan, fact-based information as "America's Government Teacher." In a time where flashy headlines and false information often take the spotlight, Sharon is a reliable source for truth and logic. 

Sharon is also the host of the award-winning podcast, Here’s Where It Gets Interesting, where, each week, she provides entertaining yet factual accounts of America’s most fascinating moments and people. In all that she does, Sharon encourages others to be world-changing humans. She has led her community in various philanthropic initiatives that have raised more than $9 million for teachers, domestic violence survivors, terminally ill children, medical debt forgiveness programs, refugees, and more.

Praise For…

“With shimmering research, an observant eye, and a bright moral compass, Sharon McMahon leads us through the thickets of the past until we can see where we came from and where we are going.”
―David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Wager and Killers of the Flower Moon

“Sharon McMahon is a national treasure and a one-woman cavalry for truth, saving our republic one loving and clear-eyed lesson at a time. She and this book are a gift to our country.”
—Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of Caste and The Warmth of Other Suns

“This book won’t just enlighten and entertain you—it will leave you empowered by newfound confidence that you don’t need to be rich or famous to make a difference. The Small and the Mighty is a master class in making American history fascinating and fun.”
―Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Potential and Think Again, and host of the podcast Re:Thinking

“These are the underdogs, the unknowns, and some of the most amazing historical heroes you’ve never heard of. The Small and the Mighty overflows with inspiration and brilliantly proves that the best Americans are not always famous.”
―Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Nazi Conspiracy

The Small and the Mighty isn’t just history—it’s a testament to the power of courage and resilience. If you’re looking for a book that restores faith in the American dream, this is it."
―Jermaine Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Humanity Archive

“Sharon McMahon has assembled a thrilling cast of idealists, trailblazers, change agents, and crusaders. Together they light up the past—and the page.”
—Stacy Schiff, author of The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams

“So many history books focus on what went wrong. The Small and the Mighty teaches us about the people who got it right. In a time when democracy is on the line, we need this book as a reminder that hope—even when it's tiny—is strong enough to meet this moment.”
―Jemar Tisby, professor of history at Simmons College of Kentucky and New York Times bestselling author of The Color of Compromise and The Spirit of Justice

“McMahon is a world-class educator and masterful storyteller who has crafted an essential and irresistible book. If you want to be deeply inspired by history—and have a great time along the way—read this book.”
―Candice Millard, author of River of the Gods

“In this magnificent debut, Sharon McMahon offers detailed, nuanced portraits of unexpected heroes. In the process, she reminds us that citizenship is far more than a legal status―and that the American Dream is never writ small.”
―Alexis Coe, author of You Never Forget Your First

“This is a reminder that this country's ideals were and are lived by people brave enough to go against the grain—without sugarcoating our history or letting systems of oppression off the hook. The Small and the Mighty is McMahon at her best: pointing out the light in the darkness. "
―Nora McInerny, author of It’s Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too), No Happy Endings, The Hot Young Widows Club, and Bad Vibes Only, and host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking

“Too often, America’s history is told in black and white. In The Small and the Mighty, Sharon McMahon reminds us that our story is vastly more interesting, populated by unlikely and complicated figures. This book is a timely reminder of the promise of American citizenship: that anyone, no matter their background, can shape the course of the nation’s future.”
―Troy Senik, presidential historian, former White House speech writer, and author of Man of Iron

The Small and the Mighty powerfully illuminates the messy, often dangerous work of democracy, performed by imperfect Americans with hope for a more just world. Sharon’s characteristic humor, thorough research, and disarming candor combine to issue a blazing call to be the change we want to see, wherever we are.”
―Julie Bogart, author of Raising Critical Thinkers and founder of Brave Writer

“In The Small and the Mighty, Sharon McMahon has crafted an accessible, beautiful, and courageous masterpiece. Her meticulous attention to detail brings to light untold histories, keeping you frantically turning the page. This book is a road map toward understanding who we have always been.”
―Dr. Bettina Love, William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and author of Punished for Dreaming

The Small and the Mighty drops us into some of the most riveting and consequential times in American history, where we meet twelve of the most important people you’ve likely never heard of. McMahon’s subjects are the folks who shifted the narrative of our country. McMahon’s gifted storytelling and deep research will show you why.”
―Kate Winkler Dawson, author of American Sherlock

“With stories you thought you knew and most you’ve never even heard before, The Small and the Mighty takes us on a journey of ordinary, human hope—something America decidedly needs. This is what you wish history class had actually been.”
―Kendra Adachi, author of The Lazy Genius Way

The Small and the Mighty brings to life a cast of Americans who deserve their place in our national Hall of Fame. It's a swift, moving, beautiful book that makes you blush with pride—after swearing with outrage at the circumstances that forced them to act.”
―Timothy Egan, author of A Fever in the Heartland

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593541678
ISBN-10: 0593541677
Publisher: Thesis
Publication Date: September 24th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English