A People’s History of the American Revolution

How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence

A brand-new paperback edition of the bestseller that Howard Zinn called “the best single-volume history of the Revolution I have read”

“A tour de force. . . . Ray Raphael has probably altered the way in which future historians will see events.” —The Sunday Times (London)

Upon its first publication in 2001 as the inaugural volume in The New Press People’s History series, edited by the late Howard Zinn, Ray Raphael’s magisterial A People’s History of the American Revolution was hailed by Fresh Air as “relentlessly aggressive and unsentimental.” With impeccable skill, Raphael presented a wide array of fascinating scholarship within a single volume, employing a bottom-up approach that has served as a revelation to thousands of Americans.

A People’s History of the American Revolution draws upon diaries, personal letters, and other Revolutionary-era treasures, weaving a thrilling, “you are there” narrative—“a tapestry that uses individual experiences to illustrate the larger stories“ (Los Angeles Times Book Review). In the trademark style of Zinn, Raphael shifts the focus away from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to the slaves they owned, the Indians they displaced, and the men and boys who did the fighting.

This “remarkable perspective on a familiar part of American history” (Kirkus) helps us appreciate more fully the incredible diversity of the American Revolution by allowing us to see it through different sets of eyes.


“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 the personal dimensions. This is truly a history of the people for the people.”
—Roy Porter, author of The Enlightenment
“The unique value of Raphael’s work lies in its mining, from extant primary sources, of the extraordinary recollections of ordinary witnesses to history.”

Books by 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

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

Ray Raphael

Goodreads Reviews