Sunday, April 20, 2014
Giveaway -- Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick -- Ends April 28, 2014
I have thought of this book so many times since I read it last year in May. I am happy to host a giveaway of this title on the occasion of its publication in paperback at the end of April 2014.
My earlier review talks of the story Philbrick wove, but misses some of the telling detail that has stayed with me over the past year, beginning with the ethos in New England: how, for instance, young, male New Hampshire residents were willing to answer the call of Bostonians and Massachusetts residents for militia help, but were unwilling to be managed by them and insisted on their own leadership. How, when hostilities began between the British troops in Boston and colonial militias, residents found it necessary to flee, not really sure which direction to go. Their way was blocked in several directions so many ended up going west, passing Lexington, where a skirmish began which would stay in the history books forever.
After I read this title, I was fortunate to come across Jill Lepore's magnificent history of Jane Franklin, sister to Benjamin, called Book of Ages, which recounts the same period from a personal perspective. These two books made the experience come to life for me in a remarkable way.
The bloody and doomed fighting on Breed's Hill was painful to read about. Thousands of British troops with less interest in the outcome than a small band of dug-in colonialists determined to hold the hill could not easily rout those same patriots. The British came in wave after wave, by boat across the Mill Pond, suffering more losses than they had been expecting and the memory of that battle led more than one leader to ask to be transferred away from the colonies. The Americans suffered horrible, crippling losses, and discovering who lay among the dead took days.
The queer thing is that the Americans lost that battle, but their determination made their case. It was one of the first, and bloodiest battles of the war for independence, a commencement of hostilities, as it were. Philbrick does an excellent job of introducing us to several folks I had not heard of before, one of whom died in the fighting there: the physician James Warren. The spirit of the resistance at Bunker Hill was fair warning to the British about what they were up against. The British and the Americans both upped their game after Bunker Hill and sent a new bunch of generals as a result. The Americans got George Washington.
This giveaway ended April 28, 2014 and a winner has been chosen. Thanks, everyone, for participating.
You can buy this book here: Tweet