Founders: The People Who Brought You a Nation
by Ray Raphael
AVAILABILITY: Readily Available
Publication Date: May 2009
Publisher: New Press
Binding: Trade Cloth
Topics: REVOLUTIONARIES_UNITED STATES; UNITED STATES_HISTORY_REVOLUTION, 1775-1783_BIOGRAPHY
Description: From the bestselling author of "A People's History of the American Revolution", "The First American Revolution", and "Founding Myths".
Washington, Franklin Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams and Madison are names synonymous with American history. Ray's narrative follows both George Washington and a private soldier in his army whilst America's richest merchant goes head-to-head with a peripatetic revolutionary who incited rebellion in seven states.
Founders is Raphael’s largest and most ambitious book, a daring attempt to recreate an “honest history” of our nation’s founding by skipping over nineteenth century distortions and returning to primary sources from Revolutionary times. It’s a sweeping narrative, starting with the beginnings of unrest in 1761 and ending with the ratification of the Bill of Rights thirty years later. To keep his rendition intimate, Raphael focuses on seven lead characters — not the usual cast, but a far more diverse lot. For the first time, Raphael interweaves the new bottom-up approach, the favorite of social historians in recent years, with traditional top-down history, moving back and forth between leading figures inside chambers and the people “out-of-doors.”
Includes 27 black & white illustrations.
Review(s): "Dramatize, personalize, localize: this is the way Ray Raphael has brilliantly explored the American Revolution. Readers will devour this stirring account. The author teaches us more about the multiple dimensions of the American Revolution than one could ever have imagined.” — Gary B. Nash, Professor of History, UCLA; Director, National Center for History in the Schools; author of 'The Unknown American Revolution'
"Raphael is a fine writer and does an outstanding job of interweaving his themes with the lives of the individuals he follows into a coherent narrative. Though his book is obviously targeted at a mass audience, Raphael has written a serious history based on extensive research and a reliance on primary- source documents. As popular history, Raphael’s book certainly succeeds. Even for specialists, Founders warrants attention. Any scholar not already possessing extensive knowledge of all seven individuals profiled by Raphael would certainly gain from reading Founders." - Journal of the Early Republic
"In Founding Myths (2004), Raphael exhorted readers to repair to original sources, and in this volume he is as good as his word. Extensively quoting seven [participants], he revives their routes to becoming revolutionaries, their often discordant aspirations for the revolution, and their personal contributions to its outcome. … Raphael's robust storytelling makes for almost an evangelizing introduction to the American Revolution." - Booklist
“Raphael delivers a rich cast of characters in this fascinating account of how the new American nation found its footings. Founders will find a secure place in American historical literature.” - Joyce Appleby, Professor Emerita of History, UCLA; past president, Organization of American Historians and American Historical Association
"Raphael deftly reconstructs the lives of women and men of the Revolutionary generation who are unfamiliar to many of us. A natural storyteller, he helps us feel the urgency of their choices, fears, and expectations." - Carol Berkin, Presidential Professor of History, Baruch College & The Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of 'Revolutionary Mothers
"Taking the reader well beyond the familiar and obvious, Raphael has framed an in-depth tableau of the emerging nation. A provocative and highly readable account, Founders helps redefine our understanding of that most mythologized and misunderstood period in America's past." - Kenneth C. Davis, author of 'America's Hidden History' and 'Don't Know Much About History'
"In vivid prose and with clear thought, Ray Raphael broadens the story of the American Revolution by revealing an array of compelling characters, common and genteel, free and slave, native and settler. He illuminates the dramatic struggle for power at home within a revolution that was more than a push for home rule." - Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winning author of 'William Cooper’s Town' and 'The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution'
"In this brisk narrative survey, Raphael offers a history of the events between the outbreak of colonial protest in the 1760s and the ratification of the Constitution in 1788. He does so through the lives of seven people, some, like George Washington, justly celebrated, others obscure. All seven and many others come alive in their acts and words, their stories serving as the spine of the book. No one will come away without a better idea of how social class, ideas, careers, ambitions and plain luck interwove themselves into the revolution carried on by an entire people. Raphael also weaves his tale around such staple themes of American history as the growth of popular sovereignty and westward expansion. From the author of A People's History of the American Revolution none of this is surprising, nor is the skill of his pen. The book adds nothing to what's already known, but it will delight readers and no doubt add to their knowledge through a tale rarely told so well." - Publishers Weekly