Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Pastby Ray Raphael
First published ten years ago, award-winning historian Ray Raphael’s Founding Myths has since established itself as a landmark of historical myth-busting. With Raphael’s trademark wit and flair, Founding Myths exposed the errors and inventions in America’s most cherished tales, from Paul Revere’s famous ride to Patrick/i>/i>
First published ten years ago, award-winning historian Ray Raphael’s Founding Myths has since established itself as a landmark of historical myth-busting. With Raphael’s trademark wit and flair, Founding Myths exposed the errors and inventions in America’s most cherished tales, from Paul Revere’s famous ride to Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech. For the thousands who have been captivated by Raphael’s eye-opening accounts, history has never been the same.
In this revised tenth-anniversary edition, Raphael revisits the original myths and further explores their evolution over time, uncovering new stories and peeling back new layers of misinformation. This new edition also examines the highly politicized debates over America’s past, as well as how our approach to history in school reinforces rather than corrects 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.
Praise for the tenth-anniversary edition of Founding Myths:
"A persuasive argument in favor of evidence-based history, even if it means surrendering some of our cherished fabrications."
Praise for the original edition:
"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 Americans 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."
A distinguished historian revisits the American legends he effectively debunked 10 years ago and discovers that they die hard.Over two centuries after the nation's founding, does the narrative change when we understand that Paul Revere didn't really ride alone, that Sam Adams wasn't a "one-man revolution," that the Declaration didn't spring full-blown from the mind of Thomas Jefferson, that Patrick Henry likely never said, "give me liberty or give me death," or that Molly Pitcher never existed at all? Raphael (Senior Research Fellow/Humboldt State Univ.; Constitutional Myths: What We Get Wrong and How to Get It Right, 2013, etc.) takes on a number of myths and legends that have crept unquestioned into our textbooks and popular histories, and he explains their persistence and the damage done if they remain uncorrected. He also highlights some stories we have failed to tell. How is our understanding changed if we discover that the tale of the cruel winter and patient suffering at Valley Forge has an unacknowledged twin, two years later, at the Morristown encampment, where the weather was colder and the soldiers mutinied? What if we learn that the American struggle for independence, itself only a small part of a worldwide conflict, was also a war of conquest in the West and featured a brutal civil war in the South? By slapping tidy beginnings and endings on stories, we distort a deeper, more complex history. By fashioning them into stick figures, we turn the Founders into an assembly of demigods. Worst of all, Raphael argues, we understate the central theme of the American Revolution—popular sovereignty—and marginalize the contributions made by millions of common citizens. Overlooking this genuine heritage, he insists, takes the Revolution out of the hands of the people, without whom the entire enterprise would surely have failed.A persuasive argument in favor of evidence-based history, even if it means surrendering some of our cherished fabrications.
- New Press, The
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.76(w) x 8.44(h) x 1.26(d)
Meet the Author
Ray Raphael has taught at a one-room public high school, Humboldt State University, and College of the Redwoods. His seventeen books include A People’s History of the American Revolution, The First American Revolution, Founders, and Constitutional Myths (all available from The New Press). Currently a senior research fellow at Humboldt State University, he lives in northern California, where he hikes and kayaks.
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