People's History, Founding Myths, and the American Revolution


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For more reviews and purchasing information, click on any title.

American Revolution and Founding Era 

U. S. Constitution: Explained — Clause-by Clause — For Every American Today
Commissioned by Vintage Books (Knopf-Doubleday), 2017

The text of original Constitution and all 27 amendments, accompanied by unbiased explanations we all can understand.

Hamilton: Founding Father
Commissioned by Fall River Press (Barnes & Noble), 2017
This succinct new biography, based on primary documents from Hamilton's own time, is perfect for history buffs, general readers and anyone who has seen or will see Lin Manuel Miranda's remarkable Hamilton.

The Spirit of ’74: How the American Revolution Began
The New Press, 2015
“The Raphaels expertly contextualize how the outbreak of a shooting war at Lexington and Concord marked a crucial ‘turning point’ in, rather than the beginning of, the American Revolution.” — Publishers Weekly

Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Pas - Tenth Anniversary Edition, Revised and Expanded
The New Press, 2014
“A distinguished historian revisits the American legends he effectively debunked 10 years ago and discovers that they die hard… A persuasive argument in favor of evidence-based history, even if it means surrendering some of our cherished fabrications.” - Kirkus review of the tenth anniversary revised edition

Constitutional Myths: What We Get Wrong and How To Get It Right
The New Press, 2013
Constitutional Myths is a wonderfully readable book based firmly on the historical record. A real eye-opener.” – Pauline Maier, author of Ratification: the People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

“An extraordinarily important and nuanced work of history that places the Constitution, and the men who created it, in their proper eighteenth century context.” – Richard R. Beeman, author of Plain Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution, and professor of history, University of Pennsylvania

Mr. President: How and Why the Founders Created a Chief Executive
Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
“Meticulously detailed and thoroughly researched, this is a valuable read for Democrats and Republicans, as well as historians and those interested in contemporary American politics.” – Publishers Weekly

Revolutionary Founders: Rebels, Radicals, and Reformers in the Making of the Nation
(Co-edited with Alfred F. Young and Gary B. Nash)
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
Revolutionary Founders brilliantly restores the struggle for social equality to the central place in the history of American Revolution, and explains how the ‘spirit of leveling’ shaped the making of the new American Republic. For anyone interested in the sources of popular democracy in the United States, Revolutionary Founders is required reading.”– Ira Berlin, author of Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Founding Fathers and the Birth of Our Nation
Alpha Books (Penguin), 2011
“Raphael has done what most of us academic historians never bother to do: he has distilled the hundreds of discoveries he made while researching his four previous books on the American Revolution into a fast-paced narrative. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Founding Fathers is a must-read, but it’s a wanna-read too.” – Woody Holton, author of Forced Founders, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, and Abigail Adams.

Founders: The People Who Brought You a Nation
The New Press, 2009
"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, and Director, National Center for History in the Schools.

The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord
The New Press, 2002
Hardcover and paperback
“Readers will learn more useful information about the American Revolution and its values from this book than from anything on the Founding Fathers that they are likely to encounter on their next trip to Barnes and Noble.”– St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A People’s History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence 
The New Press, 2001; HarperCollins, 2002; Revised Edition, The New Press, 2016
Published in the UK as The American Revolution: A People’s History
“Ray Raphael has probably altered the way in which future historians will see events. His narrative is a tour de force.”–Sunday Times (London)


Regional Books: California and Pacific Northwest

Two Peoples, One Place: Humboldt History, Volume 1 
Humboldt County Historical Society, 2007, 2011
“Raphael has used his formidable skills as a historian, writer and cultural observer to write a community history that ranks with some of the best published during the last 40 years.”–San Francisco Chronicle

An Everyday History of Somewhere
Alfred A. Knopf, 1974
Paperback: Island Press (1981) and Real Books (1992, 2001)

Winner of the Commonwealth Club award for the best book of the year about California
“A beautiful book, beautifully written and organized.” – San Francisco Chronicle

Edges: Human Ecology of the Backcountry
Alfred A. Knopf, 1976
Paperback: University of Nebraska Press. 1986

“Mr. Raphael’s work has meaning for us all, though our lives may be situated far from the ‘edges.’” – Christian Science Monitor

Cash Crop: An American Dream?
Ridge-Times Press, 1985
Cash Crop is the definitive word on how the local marijuana industry grew.”–USA Today.

Tree Talk: The People and Politics of Timberand
More Tree Talk: The People, Politics, and Economics of Timber
Island Press, 1981 and 1994

“Well balanced and fair minded … a marvelous, unpretentious book.”–Los Angeles Times

Little White Father: Redick McKee on the California Frontier
Humboldt County Historical Society, 1993

“A finely-crafted, well researched, fascinating story. … It raises questions for us to ponder today.”–Humboldt Historian


Other Works

The Teacher’s Voice: A Sense of Who We Are
Heinneman Educational Books, 1985

“Ray Raphael has pulled together a book that reaches out and grabs you. Read it. Pass it on to teachers. Give it to parents and other board members.”–American School Board Journal

The Men from the Boys: Rites-of-Passage in Male America
University of Nebraska Press, 1988
Published in Germany as Vom Mannwerden, 1993

“Mr. Raphael’s book is provocative and well researched, his anecdotes are often compelling, and we cannot dispute his recommendation that we have to redefine manhood as a state of maturity, rather than a display of power.”–New York Times

Comic Cops
A juvenile mystery by Neil and Ray Raphael
Real Books, 1992
“The unusual atmosphere and realistic plot, enhanced by strong tension, set this effort apart from any other in the YA mode, and will appeal to teen readers who relish intrigue.” – Children’s Bookwatch

Floundering Father – and Mother Too! An evening with John and Jessie Fremont
Dell’ Arte and the Pure Schmint Players, 1991
"A cause for celebration … a wickedly clever script” – Eureka Times-Standard

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