Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution [NOOK Book]

Overview

Nathaniel Philbrick, the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower, brings his prodigious talents to the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution.

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  ...
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Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution

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Overview

Nathaniel Philbrick, the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower, brings his prodigious talents to the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution.

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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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In popular culture, the Battle of Bunker Hill has lived on mostly as a trick question: Where was the Battle of Bunker Hill fought? (The military confrontation that fully ignited the American Revolution occurred mostly on Breed's Hill.) National Book Award winner Nathaniel Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea; Mayflower; The Last Stand) rescues this pivotal epoch in our history with a revelatory narrative about the full context and unfolding of the bloodiest battle in the War for Independence. Seeing patriots and warriors so clearly that you can see the whites of their eyes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101622704
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/30/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 21,708
  • File size: 28 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Philbrick

Nathaniel Philbrick grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a BA in English from Brown University and an MA in America Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He was Brown University’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978, the same year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI. After working as an editor at Sailing World magazine, he wrote and edited several books about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor, Second Wind, and Yaahting: A Parody.  

 

In 1986, Philbrick moved to Nantucket with his wife Melissa and their two children. In 1994, he published his first book about the island’s history, Away Off Shore, followed by a study of the Nantucket’s native legacy, Abram’s Eyes. He was the founding director of Nantucket’s Egan Maritime Institute and is still a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. 



In 2000, Philbrick published the New York Times bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book is the basis of the forthcoming Warner Bros. motion picture “Heart of the Sea,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, Ben Wishaw, and Tom Holland, which is scheduled for release in March, 2015. The book also inspired a 2001 Dateline special on NBC as well as the 2010 two-hour PBS American Experience film “Into the Deep” by Ric Burns.

 

His next book was Sea of Glory, published in 2003, which won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. The New York Times Bestseller Mayflower was a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction, and was named one the ten Best Books of 2006 by the New York Times Book Review. Mayflower is currently in development as a limited series on FX.

 

In 2010, he published the New York Times bestseller The Last Stand, which was named a New York Times Notable book, a 2010 Montana Book Award Honor Book, and a 2011 ALA Notable Book. Philbrick was an on-camera consultant to the two-hour PBS American Experience film “Custer’s Last Stand” by Stephen Ives. The book is currently being adapted for a ten-hour, multi-part television series. The audio book for Philbrick’s Why Read Moby-Dick? (2011) made the ALA's Listen List in 2012 and was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award.

 

Philbrick’s latest New York Times bestseller, Bunker Hill:  A City, a Siege, a Revolution, was published in 2013 and was awarded both the 2013 New England Book Award for Non-Fiction and the 2014 New England Society Book Award. Bunker Hill won the 2014 book award from the Society of Colonial Wars, and has been optioned by Warner Bros. for feature film adaptation with Ben Affleck attached to direct.

 

Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society, and the Boston History Award from the Bostonian Society. He was named the 2011 Cushing Orator by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and has an honorary doctorate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he delivered the commencement address in 2009.

 

Philbrick’s writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, Dateline, PBS’s American Experience, C-SPAN, and NPR. He and his wife still live on Nantucket.

Biography

Champion sailboat racer Nathaniel Philbrick is one of the premier authorities on New England's Nantucket Island, and an all around aficionado of maritime activities. Ever since he published his first book, a short, humorous take on sailing titled The Passionate Sailor, Philbrick has been sharing that passion with readers. Whether exploring his beloved Nantucket or tracing tragedies and triumphs on the open sea throughout history, Philbrick is the writer of some of the most illuminating and harrowing histories to come sailing across bookshelves in the past decade.

While Philbrick broke into publishing with the lighthearted The Passionate Sailor, he truly established his role as a chronicler of Nantucket—the one-time whaling capital of the world—with his second book, Away Off Shore. Instead of focusing on the colorfully quaint legends that hardly scrape the surface of Nantucket's rich history, Philbrick chose to take a more sober look at the island and how it rose to success. He brought that same objectivity to subsequent books such as Abram's Eyes, which delves into the vast Native American population of Nantucket, separating folklore from historical evidence, and his breakthrough In the Heart of the Sea. Here, Philbrick takes a fascinating look at the legendary sinking of the Essex, a tale that would form the backbone of Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick. If anything, the true story of a wayward ship's encounter with a giant whale is even more terrifying and gripping than anything in Melville's imagination. In the Heart of the Sea is at its core a tragedy rife with painful ironies, fatal decisions, cannibalism, and a final encounter with a furious sperm whale.

The key to this National Book Award winner is that it is told with all the flair and suspense of any fictional story. "What I really like is narrative-driven non-fiction," Philbrick explained to Barnes & Noble.com. "A story is important for anyone to engage with what happened in the past." Just as Philbrick used this tactic to relate the tragedy of the Essex, he used it to tell of the triumphant U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 in Sea of Glory. No less engaging than its predecessor, Sea of Glory is almost like the yang to the shadowy yin of In the Heart of the Sea, gloriously recounting a grander ocean expedition than that of Lewis and Clark, a quest to map the entire Pacific Ocean that would lead to the discovery of Antarctica.

Philbrick's next book retells a story with which most American schoolchildren are familiar but only through a filter of benign Thanksgiving pageants. The story of the pilgrim's journey to Plymouth Rock told in Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War is quite a different tale. Philbrick was not exactly burning to revisit this well-traveled chapter in history, saying of the Mayflower's voyage, "what could be more boring?" However, once he peeled away the holiday wrapping, he discovered a dark web of violence, starvation, illness, death, and war to rival the tragedy of In the Heart of the Sea. It is as if the pilgrim and Indian's story, as well as their true nature, is being revealed for the very first time, with provocative depictions of a bloody-thirsty Miles Standish and a duplicitous Squanto.

The Library Journal boldly declared that Mayflower was "clearly one of the year's best books" of 2006, and it is certainly one of the most riveting, a historical work that reads like great fiction written by a master at the peak of his abilities.

Good To Know

When Philbrick was a young boy, his father, a professor of English literature with a focus on Maritime fiction, would tell him about the Essex's tragic sea voyage as a sort of grim bedtime story.

Nathaniel Philbrick served as a consultant on USA television's 1998 adaptation of Moby Dick starring Patrick Stewart.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Nat Philbrick
    2. Hometown:
      Nantucket, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 11, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Brown University, 1978; M.A., Duke University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "...both sides began a desperate rush for gunpowder."



    "...both sides began a desperate rush for gunpowder."

    Philbrick knows how to inhabit and interpret a battle scene. From earlier books like The Last Stand and now with Bunker Hill, Philbrick allows us to imagine in detail the layout, action, and tension in a battlefield exploding with ordnance. Because we know more about the personalities of those men involved in the battle, have letters from survivors and rooftop observers, and battle reports of the period, we can interpret to some extent how the battle for Bunker Hill must have developed and played out. It was grim. It was bloody. The provincials had very little gunpowder but buckets of bravado.

    The British took Bunker Hill that day, but the loss did nothing more than whet the appetite of the provincials for the freedom they craved. Paradoxically, it crushed the spirit of the British generals and spurred the leadership and fighting men of the colonies to an even greater resolve to isolate and eventually push the British out of Boston.

    This latest addition to Philbrick’s oeuvre gives us much more than news about a single battle. We get a glimpse of greater Boston in a conscribed period of time beginning 1775 and ending 1776. We learn details about the land, the weather, the ethos, the men and women living in Boston which aid in understanding the constraints and choices facing our earliest countrymen. We learn of Lexington and Concord and the heartbreaking admission by a provincial soldier found to have hacked a British regular to death with an axe:, “he simply did what he thought was expected of a soldier in the midst of battle.”

    Several things stand out from Philbrick’s account which makes for a rich and rewarding addition to our understanding of the period. A fascinating new series of maps created for the book and dated 2013 by Jeffrey L. Ward are a revelation. Boston of today bears almost no resemblance to the Boston of 1775-76 when Boston city itself was practically an island reachable only by water or by a very narrow neck of land reaching into Roxbury. Ward’s maps follow the scenes of Philbrick’s history closely and add immeasurably to our grasp on the action.

    The other thing that stands out is how little fighting actually took place before the colonies declared independence in the summer of 1776. Hostilities continued afterwards, but “the Battle of Bunker Hill…[proved] to be the bloodiest engagement of the eight years of fighting that followed.” The provincials lost the Battle of Bunker Hill and sustained heavy casualties, but they appeared to come away from that time with a sense of their own power, and with determination.

    Best of all may be the portraits drawn of James Warren, kinetic man-about-town, physician, politician, and leader who rose from his sickbed to participate (and die) in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and George Washington, gentleman general, who came up to Boston afterward to lay out the Siege of Boston. Washington succeeded in pushing the British from Boston with almost no conflict. He had prepared so well in surrounding the city, he was actually disappointed he did not need to put his plan into action.
    ”Two days after the evacuation, the British saw fit to destroy the fortifications at the Castle with a spectacular series of explosions. The resulting fire raged throughout the night with such an intensity that a lieutenant from Connecticut discovered that even though he was several miles away he was able to read a letter from his wife by the light of the burning fortress. The fate of the Castle served as a fresh reminder of the devastation that had been avoided through the occupation of Dorchester Heights. Washington, however, continued ‘lamenting the disappointment’ of not having been able to implement what he described in a letter to a friend in Virginia as his ‘premeditated plan’ to attack Boston, ‘as we were prepared for them at all points.’”

    Philbrick is at his most eloquent in his chapter entitled “The Fiercest Man,” in which he describes George Washington. One of my deepest impressions from this book comes from this chapter, where Washington is rendered human. He was a large man, physically gifted and well-proportioned, who looked well on a horse: “There is not a king in Europe that would not look like a valet de chamber by his side.” He appeared to listen and accommodate another point of view from his own while managing, in the end, to carry his own.

    When Washington learned that the provincials were essentially without gunpowder, he was struck silent. “Could I have forseen what I have, and am about to experience, no consideration upon earth should have induced me to accept this command.”

    The book has 32 color plates, including Charles Willson Peale’s standing portrait of Washington with his hand on a gun barrel, and 30 black and white reproductions that allow us to put faces to names. This is a delectable, detailed history, adding to our store of knowledge, and a modern one: there is some discussion of attractive women, married or not, whom Warren and Washington were allegedly interested in. I assert, whether or not we think these details realistic, true, or relevant, they make these men more accessible to us, and we begin to wish we had more remaining clues about the lives of all these forbears so as to refute or confirm these theories.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    Bunker Hill

    I thought that Bunker Hill was a very interesting book because it tells alot about history. The vocabulary in the book was very good which made the book even better. This is a very educational book about the Revolutionary War and the events that lend up to it.
    This book is mostly about the battle of Bunker Hill, which really didn't take place at Bunker Hill, not to spoil anything. There are other thing and places, but like what I said before the book mostly takes place at the battle.
    I think everyone should buy this book.

    7 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Another Philbrick Winner!

    A key period in US history brought wonderfully to life with cogent overviews and individual observations. History can indeed be riveting, amusing and awe inspiring. The piece about George Washington was inspired. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    It was an interesting book by Mr. Philbrick. WHAT I DID NOT LIKE

    It was an interesting book by Mr. Philbrick.
    WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT IT WAS POLITICALLY CORRECT REFERENCES ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICANS.
    HE USES THIS TERM NUMEROUS TIMES THOUGHOUT HIS BOOK.  CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG BUT THE 
    PHRASE DID NOT EVEN EXIST IN 1776.  
    WE CANNOT CHANGE HISTORY AND HIS USE OF THIS PHRASE MANY TIMES TELLS ME HE  THATCHANGES HISTORY TO FIT HIS POLITICAL AGENDA.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2013

    HISTORICAL ACCOUNT WORTH READING! Nathaniel Philbrick creates a

    HISTORICAL ACCOUNT WORTH READING!
    Nathaniel Philbrick creates a very vivid picture as he recounts the explosive and unpredictable days before the American Revelution and its eventual outbreak. This historical account reads like a novel as it reveals the unsettled atomosphere of the times and the varied sentiment of those living through such a tumultous period. The reader encounters a diversity of opinions and the wrenching choices made by some as the people of Boston, Massachusetts and the other colonial areas committed to life altering decisions based on their support of the revolutionary cause or their loyalty to the British Monarchy. When I consider the early days of America, I am convinced more than ever that God truly guided the circumstances to bring about the birth of our remarkable country! I highly recommend this work to any who seek to have a better understanding of how our country evolved into a nation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2013

    History Re-Explained

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had always seemed that our forefathers rose up as one and, with unanimous purpose, won their freedom. In reality, they were much less focused and certainly independence was not a unanimous decision.
    This book really put the New England portion of our revolution in perspective, and did it so backed up by historical facts.
    A very good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Well written, very interesting, more details than I've read befo

    Well written, very interesting, more details than I've read before but the the use of 'African American" is out of place for the period of time especially considering that there were no "Americans" yet. Slave, freed slave or negro would have blended in much better. Still a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2014

    Tigerheart

    Climbs a tree and silently and invisably waited for a bird to perch on the branch. 2 birds perched on the branch right next to him so he pounced and killed each of them and found a hole in the tree and he put them in there and hid in a bagder borrow because he heard the bagder coming back. When the bagder came in he pounced on its back and wrestled it finaly he tired it out and killed it with one hard and deep bite to the neck. He draged it out and draged it to the tree where the birds were he picked the birds up with his tail and draged the bagder and birds back to result 1

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 30, 2014

    This should be required reading for everyone

    I felt as if I was back in colonial Boston. The brutality of war was made very real, the passion of the colonists for "freedom" both political and economical was jumping from each page.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Well written scholarly history

    This book covers much more than Bunker Hill and traces back to the actions that started the militant side of the American Revolution. The contributions of Hancock and S Adams are described and a little known hero Joseph Warren detailed. G. Washington comes in later and seems to get too much credit for lifting the siege at Boston. He wanted a conclusive battle but realized a war of attrition favored the Americans. The patriots were led by amateurs with more zeal than experience and poorly equipped but the British didn't want to be there and didn't believe their army could be bested by a ragtag bunch. The first commanders thought they could cow the Americans back into submission simply by showing up. This is a good book for those interested in the early military days of the American revolution. It was a messy and a far from certain outcome. I enjoyed this book and the learning the history it reported.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    wow! what I learned!

    An excellent documentation of the reasons for the revolution and the people involved in the movement for freedom. Excellent history down to the farmers who left their plows to defend Bunker Hill. Fascinating history of the many mistakes made by Americans and British. A must read to understand our beginnings!

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  • Posted August 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    An interesting history of late colonial New England, Boston in p

    An interesting history of late colonial New England, Boston in particular and the early stages of the Revolution. Also very interesting to read the author's views of the eraly command actions of George Washington, whom he does not fawn over.

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  • Posted August 9, 2013

    Very interesting method to explore history

    I enjoyed this book. Mr Philbrick's style reminds me of Barbara Tuchman is a wonderful historian writer. History is told as a story and the while the 'characters' are real, there is a warmth to them one does not get from a text book or such. I think anyone interested in the topic of Bunker Hill or early American Revolution will enjoy this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Very informative

    Informative, but too long.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2013

    A well researched and written book. Very balanced and bring aliv

    A well researched and written book. Very balanced and bring alive the famous and not so famous architects of American Independence. I especially liked how he describes with Washington's taking command how the struggle and Washington's perceptions were changed. A great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Some new ground broken in this narrative of the early beginnings

    Some new ground broken in this narrative of the early beginnings of the conflict. Reads like a text book at times but is worth the time in its character development of lesser known figures that played significant roles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Recommend

    As usual Philbrick brings Historical Figures to life such as British General Howe, Margaret Gage,General Gage's beautiful mysterious American Wife,long thought to be an American spy. Philbrick debunks that old myth. Dr. Joseph Warren was an important Patriot Leader who is denied his rightful place in the Pantheon because his life was tragically cut short at Bunker Hill. Description of the sainted Washington very balanced pointing out that he would of made a disastrously premature attack on Boston if not dissuaded by his war council. Philbrick never disappoints.

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    Well written story of the battle and events surrounding the beginnings of the revolutionary war.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Great Read! Highly Recommend.

    Get this book if you like American History.
    A must read!
    Glad I purchased it. Barnes & Noble was great to order from.
    Had the book in a matter of a few business days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Well written and detail oriented which gives the reader a comprehensive background and more understanding of the times and events surrounding the revolution. Enjoyed it thoroughly and learned a lot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews

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