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In this revised tenth-anniversary edition, Raphael revisits the original myths and explores their further evolution over the past decade, uncovering new stories and peeling back additional layers of misinformation. This new edition also examines the highly politicized debates over America’s past, as well as how school textbooks and popular histories often reinforce rather than correct historical mistakes.
A book that “explores the truth behind the stories of the making of our nation” (National Public Radio), this revised edition of Founding Myths will be a welcome resource for anyone seeking to separate historical fact from fiction.
"Ray Raphael's engaging and eye-opening book doesn’t merely debunk historical fallacies. Using the best modern historical writing and his own research, the author also explains why and to what purpose these myths were created and then offers well-argued alternative explanations."
"Raphael relays so much forgotten or never-known history and argues so well why it, not the legends, should be remembered that virtually any American will profit from reading this lively, intelligent book."
"All students of American history will find Raphael's correction of the historical record instructive and enjoyable."
Posted May 10, 2007
I found this book to be a little opinionated, exactly what the author criticizes in previous American History authors. For instance, in the story of Valley Forge the author insists that the 'Hard Winter' of Morristown was much worse for the patriots than in Valley Forge and goes on to precisely cite the Temperatures for that year. However, he very obviously ignores the difference in living conditions in both places, which factors strongly into the cause of so much suffering/death at Valley Forge. What was their housing like? The author thinks that simply because there was less mutiny, Valley Forge paints a better picture for the American eyes. I would question whether or not the author has even visited both places in order to compare simple differences in topography or distances to water and nearby towns as a form of resource, none of which is touched on in his book. He also argues against Lexington and Concord being 'the shot heard 'round the world,' and the actual start of the Revolution, saying it really began when Bostonians overthrew the British Government in 1774. Should we then say the Civil War began when the South Seceded? No, that's absurd. Dates are affixed to Wars based on when the two opposing sides first collide. Any scholar can recognize the seeds of discontent began long before the actual start of the Revolution-I might even put it as far back as the French and Indian War. However, the actual 'War' did begin at Lexington and Concord, and Mr. Raphael shouldn't try to impose his skewed views on others. He could have written the same book, with as much little-known information in it, without trying to change our history. It's not important that Molly Pitcher was not a real woman. What is important and what most people take from her story, is that women were out on the firing lines alongside the men, helping wherever and whenever they could and deserve the recognition that 'Molly' got. There was a lot of useful information in this book, but people need to read it with a critical eye. Be warned.
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Posted November 14, 2004
Ray Raphael's 'Founding Myths' is a realistic vision of American history that should be read by every teacher of history in our schools. It should be read by citizens as well so that they understand the concerns that brought about the American Revolution and how those concerns are applicable in today's world. We live too much in a world of myth because myths simplify things, giving us only black and white rather than including the many shades of gray that are part of history. Raphael touches on the issue of American imperialism and makes the reader aware that what was a gain for some was a tragic loss for others. These are not lessons that are taught in our history classes. The cover blurb that refers to the book as 'iconoclastic' is slightly misleading since the book presents a representation of reality--warts and all. This is a book for all small 'd' democrats.
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Posted September 3, 2009
This was by far the worst book I have ever read. The only reason I read it was because it was required from AP American History. Raphael constantly tries to tell us that our history is full of "myths" when he has no point at all. I have found tons of flaws in his thinking. Do NOT buy. It's a waste of money. Rahael is one dumb f***. Im sorry, but it has to be said.
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Posted September 22, 2011
Like "Lies My Teacher Told Me" this history of the American Revolution serves to correct the self-serving, laudatory accounts of the Revolution which are the common currency of American politics. Nevertheless, you will learn that Sarah Palin was right that the stores of munitions that the colonists possessed were the target of the British actions at Lexington and Concord in 1774; but you will also learn that there were much more significant events of 1774 that proceeded Lexington and Concord. This book is very well researched and definitely be read by anyone who is really looking for the true history of our country. You will still emerge with a sense of the importance of the Revolution, but without the tendentious moral lessons that politicians love to draw from it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.