Nathaniel Philbrick

Nathaniel Philbrick is an American author and a member of the Philbrick literary family. He won the year 2000 National Book Award for his maritime history, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.
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The thrilling story of the Revolutionary War finale from the New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Valiant Ambition.

Here is the story of the remarkable year leading up to the siege of Yorktown. It sets Washington against his traitorous nemesis Benedict Arnold and places him in impossible situations and constant acrimonious negotiation with his French allies, along with his young protégé, the Marquis de Lafayette and his energetic general Nathanael Greene. In a narrative that moves from the ship-crowded waters off Newport, Rhode Island, to a wooded hillside near North Carolina's Guilford Courthouse, to the Dutch storehouses on the Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, Philbrick narrates the pivotal naval battle that brought the end of America's long, elusive path to independence. It was an improbable triumph made possible by Washington's brilliant strategy, leadership, and revolutionary use of sea power.

In the Hurricane's Eye opens in the fall of 1780. For five years, American and British forces had clashed along the edge of a vast continent and were now at a stalemate. The Royal Navy, with its fleet of powerful warships (just one of which mounted more cannons than possessed by the entire rebel army), could attack the rebels' seaside cities at will. The Rebels could just fall back inland and wait. Neither side could inflict the killing blow. As Washington knew better than anyone, only the French navy could break Britain's stranglehold on the eastern seaboard and thus ensure an American victory.

In the Battle of the Chesapeake (1781 - called the most important naval engagement in the history of the world), a French admiral foiled British attempts to rescue the army led by General Cornwallis. By making the subsequent victory at Yorktown a virtual inevitability, this naval battle--masterminded by Washington but waged without a single American ship--was largely responsible for the independence of the United States. A riveting and wide-ranging narrative, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, In the Hurricane's Eye reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.
The bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea, Valiant Ambition, and In the Hurricane's Eye tells the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution, in this "masterpiece of narrative and perspective." (Boston Globe)

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.
From the New York Times bestselling author of In The Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, and In the Hurricane's Eye comes a surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution, and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.

"May be one of the greatest what-if books of the age—a volume that turns one of America’s best-known narratives on its head.”
—Boston Globe

"Clear and insightful, it consolidates his reputation as one of America's foremost practitioners of narrative nonfiction."
—Wall Street Journal

In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within.

Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of Washington and Arnold, who is an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.
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