The First American Revolution

Before Lexington and Concord

A bold new interpretation of America’s founding moment

According to the traditional telling, the American Revolution began with “the shot heard round the world.” Now in paperback, Ray Raphael’s The First American Revolution uses the wide-angle lens of a people’s historian to tell a surprising new story of America’s revolutionary struggle.

In the years before the battle of Lexington and Concord, local people—men and women of common means but of uncommon courage—overturned British authority and declared themselves free from colonial oppression, with acts of rebellion that long predated the Boston Tea Party. In rural towns such as Worcester, Massachusetts, democracy set down roots well before the Boston patriots made their moves in the fight for independence. Richly documented, The First American Revolution recaptures in vivid detail the grassroots activism that drove events in the years leading up to the break from Britain.


“A cracking good read. . . . Ray Raphael writes about the American Revolution as if he had been in the thick of it. His no nonsense approach and style clarify the big issues and reveal their personal dimensions. This is truly history of the people for the people.”
—Roy Porter, author of Enlightenment
“The best single-volume history of the Revolution I have read.”
—Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
“Raphael makes a compelling case that these early events were critical to the success of the war that followed and should no longer escape our notice.”
Publishers Weekly

Books by Ray Raphael

A People’s History of the American Revolution
How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence

Ray Raphael

The People Who Brought You a Nation

Ray Raphael

The Spirit of 74
How the American Revolution Began

Ray Raphael, Marie Raphael

Founding Myths
Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past

Ray Raphael

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