A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Sunday Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and The Last Stand Nathaniel Philbrick turns to the visceral and dramatic beginnings of one of the most significant episodes in American and British history: the American Revolution.
Boston in 1775 is an island city, occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots ranging from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. Following the infamous Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and locals warily manoeuvered around each other until 19 April, when violence suddenly erupted at Lexington and Concord. Then in June, with the city cut off by the British and the American militia braced for a siege, brief skirmishes gave way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would prove to be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and marked a point of no return for the rebels.
True to form, Nathaniel Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to this momentous story, unearthing new characters and finding new sides to familiar ones. It seems the real work of choreographing the rebellion fell to 33-year-old physician Joseph Warren, who would be the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others include Paul Revere, Warren's fiance - the poet Mercy Scollay, and a new recruit to the cause, George Wahsington. On the British side, there is reluctant combatant General Thomas Gage, and his more bellicose successor, William Howe, who leads three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a dangerous game of bloody brinkmanship.
With passion and insight, the author reconstructs an extraordinary revolutionary landscape - both geographic and ideological - in this mesmerizing retelling of the robust, chaotic and blisteringly real origins of the United States of America...
“A notable merit of his account of the birth of the American revolution is its fairmindedness . . . readable and sensible.”
Max Hastings, SUNDAY TIMES
“Vivid, realistic and sometimes shocking . . . [character] is certainly the animating spirit of this fine narrative history and, in a sprawling, vibrant cast, the character that emerges most forcefully is that of the city of Boston itself: tumultuous, vigorous and fascinating.”
Ben McIntyre, THE TIMES
“Admirably even-handed . . . this perceptive account.”
Andrew Roberts, MAIL ON SUNDAY
“Brilliantly told. Philbrick is a master narrator who has deployed every ounce of his considerable skill . . . to find the lifeblood of early America”
“This is popular history at its best: a taut narrative with a novelist’s touch, grounded in careful research.”
“A masterpiece of narrative and perspective . . . unforgettable.”
“Tightly focused and richly detailed . . . From the outset, Philbrick makes it clear that, unlike many other popular historians of the Revolution, he plans to be even-handed rather than merely glorify the colonial rebels . . . at his most vivid in conveying scenes of battle . . . what adds depth to the narrative is his fine sense of the ambitions that drive people in war and politics.”
“A fine account of a bloody early battle.”
“If you're interested in the military aspects of the war, this is a great overview of a complex story, and one that never loses sight of its human participants.”