Bunker Hill: Book summary and reviews of Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick

Bunker Hill

A City, a Siege, a Revolution

by Nathaniel Philbrick

Bunker Hill

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Book Summary

Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents  have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.

Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren's fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.

With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The book would have benefited from a point of view more firmly grounded in a contemporary evaluation of the battle, but even as it is—no one has told this tale better." - Publishers Weekly

"A rewarding approach to a well-worn subject, rich in anecdotes, opinion, bloodshed and Byzantine political maneuvering." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Nathaniel Philbrick Author Biography

Photo by Ellen Warner

Nataniel Philbrick was born in Boston, Massachusetts, acquired a B.A in English from Brown and an MA in American Literature from Duke University. He worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during which time he wrote/edited several sailing books, including Yachting: A Parody, for which he was the editor-in-chief. During this time he was also the primary caregiver for his two children. After moving to Nantucket in 1986, he became interested in the history of the island and wrote Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People. He was offered the opportunity to start the Egan Maritime Institute in 1995, and in 2000 he published In the Heart of the Sea. The book is the basis of the forthcoming Warner Bros. motion picture Heart of the Sea, ...

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