I recently read Founding Myths by Ray Raphael. This book documents a number of myths regarding the founding of the United States. Mr. Raphael describes what really happened and examines how and why these myths developed. Founding Myths is very interesting and insightful.
I hope the readers gets more out of this book than just a retelling of American history. This book teaches us of the importance to question the motivations of historians, which could include questioning Mr. Raphael and his book or even me and my book, The Path to Tyranny. Many historians seek to idealize or vilify characters in the past. Even historians who try to be fair and impartial may be misled by predecessors who were not, as Mr. Raphael clearly documents.
Anybody interested in American history should check out this book.
On the same note, I sent this email to the author, Ray Raphael, to which he replied very kindly:
Just finished reading Founding Myths and enjoyed it very much.
Unless I somehow missed it, you didn’t mention what could have been the inspiration of Molly Pitcher. I don’t mean the person it is based on, but the need to create such a person.
In the Crisis #1 (http://www.ushistory.org/paine/crisis/c-01.htm), Thomas Paine writes, “…and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment!”
Either people created this Molly Pitcher to fulfill the need that Paine saw, or Paine was a great prophet of men and history.
Michael E. Newton