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Founding myths : stories that hide our patriotic past /
Ray Raphael.
Revised edition.
New York : The New Press, 2014.
x, 420 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
159558949X, 9781595589491
More Details
New York : The New Press, 2014.
contents note
Introduction: inventing a past -- Heroes and heroines -- Paul Revere's ride -- Sam Adams's mob -- Molly Pitcher's cannon -- David and Goliath -- The shot heard 'round the world -- The winter at Valley Forge -- Wise men -- Jefferson's declaration -- An assembly of demigods -- American aristocracy -- Doing battle -- "Give me liberty or give me death!" -- The whites of their eyes -- Good v. evil -- Patriotic slaves -- Brutal British -- Happy endings -- The final battle: Yorktown -- March of the American people -- Storybook nation -- Conclusion: why we tell tall tales -- Afterword: which myths persist, and why.
Examines thirteen well-known American stories, including those about Paul Revere's legendary ride and Thomas Jefferson's pivotal role in the establishment of American equality, contending that many of their surrounding myths are not supported by recent scholarship.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 329-399) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-11-22:
Ensign, director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, has compiled this primer for potential recruits and concerned citizens. Chapters by various contributors cover tactics used in recruitment and basic training, as well as the intricacies of policies on women and sexual harassment, minorities, "don't ask, don't tell" and exposure to hazardous materials. A 50-page compilation of letters from soldiers now serving in Iraq and their families makes up the book's third chapter of 10; chapters on "Military Justice: An Oxymoron?," a possible draft and the demographics of the infantry round things out. If it all sounds a little disjointed, that is because it is. Perhaps because of its many authors, the book lacks a common analytical thread, and there are far too many instances where Ensign or another contributor offers a litany of facts as if they speak for themselves. As the subtitle makes clear, Ensign sees many current practices as needing reform, and his analysis, when it occurs, is pitched toward mobilizing forces for change. While they may find it a challenge, dedicated readers will be able to use this book in that capacity or as a compendium of aspects of service that are less likely to be discussed by recruiters. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-10-01:
Author of A People's History of the American Revolution, Raphael once again turns to that period, aiming to punctuate popular perceptions deriving from the 19th century's penchant for solitary romantic agents. He focuses on 13 stories revolving around either mythical or genuine figures and events, including Paul Revere's ride, Molly Pitcher's battlefield heroics, Sam Adams as the supposed architect of independence, the shot heard 'round the world, the Valley Forge winter, the lauded generation of the Founding Fathers, and the presumed denouement at Yorktown of a global conflict that continued elsewhere. Curiously, the fabricated tale of flag-maker Betsy Ross is not included as a separate entry. Raphael buttresses his points by introducing each chapter with iconic illustrations by Jonathan Trumbull, John Singleton Copley, Howard Pyle, and others. Amply annotated, this anthology underscores the idea that knowing the truth about numerous anonymous players rather than holding to elaborate story lines is more empowering for a starkly realistic age. Especially recommended for all public library and undergraduate collections.-Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review Quotes
Praise for the original edition of Founding Myths : "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." -- Sacramento Bee "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." -- Booklist "All students of American history will find Raphael's correction of the historical record instructive and enjoyable." -- Publishers Weekly "Makes great strides toward challenging conventional myths and broadening our understanding of American history." -- History News Network " Founding Myths makes great strides toward challenging conventional myths and broadening our understanding of American history." --Institute for Historical Review
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Main Description
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 were captured by Raphael's eye-opening accounts, history was never 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.

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