The People Who Brought You a Nation

A “highly readable” (Library Journal) new history of America’s revolution and nation building that will “delight readers” (Publishers Weekly), from the bestselling author of Founding Myths

“Splendid storytelling that effectively captures and humanizes the tumult of the Revolutionary Era.” —Kirkus, starred review

Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, and Madison—together they are best known as an intimate cadre of daring, brilliant men credited with our nation’s founding. But does this group tell the whole story? In his widely praised new history of the roots of American patriotism, celebrated author Ray Raphael expands the historical canvas to reveal an entire generation of patriots who pushed for independence, fought a war, and set the United States on its course—giving us “an evangelizing introduction to the American Revolution” (Booklist).

Called “entertaining yet informative” by Library Journal, Founders brings to life seven historical figures whose stories anchor a sweeping yet intimate history of the Founding Era, from the beginnings of unrest in 1761 through the passage of the Bill of Rights thirty years later. Here we follow the intertwined lives of George Washington and a private soldier in his army. America’s richest merchant, who rescued the nation from bankruptcy, goes head to head with a peripatetic revolutionary who incited rebellion in seven states. Rounding out the company is a richly nuanced cast that includes a common village blacksmith, a conservative enslaver with an abolitionist son, and Mercy Otis Warren, the most politically engaged woman of the time.

A master narrative with unprecedented historical scope, Founders will forever change our image of this most crucial moment in America’s past.



“Raphael delivers a rich cast of characters in this fascinating account of how the new American nation found its footings.”
—Joyce Appleby, professor emerita of history at UCLA and past president of the OAH and the AHA
“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

Books by Ray Raphael

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

Ray Raphael

Constitutional Myths
What We Get Wrong and How to Get It Right

Ray Raphael

Founding Myths
Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past

Ray Raphael

The First American Revolution
Before Lexington and Concord

Ray Raphael

Goodreads Reviews