Founding Myths

Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past

The tenth-anniversary edition of the book that showed “why we must move past historical nonsense so that a truer, more democratic national record can emerge” (School Library Journal)

“Raphael digs through all the layers of meaning that generations of interpreters have assigned to historical characters and moments. . . . He provokes us, he shakes us up, he turns us upside down.” —2013 Bay State Legacy Award.

Originally published to universal acclaim, 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 have been captivated by Raphael’s eye-opening accounts, history has never been 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.


“Raphael relays so much forgotten or never-known history and argues so well why it, not the legends, should be remembered that virtually any American will profit from reading this lively, intelligent book.”
“All students of American history will find Raphael’s correction of the historical record instructive and enjoyable.”
Publishers Weekly
“A persuasive argument in favor of evidence-based history, even if it means surrendering some of our cherished fabrications.”
Kirkus Reviews
“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.”
The Sacramento Bee
Founding Myths shows that looking back and reconsidering history is a prerequisite of the very possibility of moving forward.”
—History News Network

Books by Ray Raphael

The People Who Brought You a Nation

Ray Raphael

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

Ray Raphael

The Spirit of 74
How the American Revolution Began

Ray Raphael, Marie Raphael

The First American Revolution
Before Lexington and Concord

Ray Raphael

Goodreads Reviews