Out of all of your favorite books, pick just one you'd recommend everyone read. As a bonus: why did you pick that one?
Well there have been a lot of good choices so far. Many I've read, some I haven't, and some I don't plan on reading, so I'm going to pick something that hasn't been recommended yet, and that would be John Jakes' "The Bastard" the first in his Kent Family Chronicles series. Originally created to help celebrate America's bicentennial, it follows a young man who under desperate circumstances leaves Europe and settles in Boston just as the Revolution is beginning. The first book ends at the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1774, when the actual war starts, but the series ends in 1890, covering several major moments in American history, including, the Boston Tea Party, the Alamo, The Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the laying of the Transcontinental Railroad, as well as several lesser known historical moments. It's peppered with encounters with several historical figures including Lafeyette, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Santa Anna, Sam Houston, Fredrick Douglas, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jeb Stuart to name a few I can list off the top of my head. I think my favorite is "The Lawless", the sixth book in the series, but "The Bastard" is an excellent book to start with.