domingo, 15 de dezembro de 2013

Battle your way through Philbrick’s ‘Bunker Hill’ By Craig Wilson, USA TODAY

Battle your way through Philbrick’s ‘Bunker Hill’
By Craig Wilson, USA TODAY

Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick

April 29, 2013

Best-selling author and historian Nathaniel Philbrick has a well-deserved reputation as a meticulous researcher and captivating storyteller. His In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award for non-fiction and his Mayflower was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His last book, The Last Stand, brought the ever-fascinating Gen. George Custer back to life on the haunting landscape of Little Big Horn.
Now he's back with Bunker Hill, an exhaustive three-year effort that takes the reader to pre-Revolutionary Boston and its famed hill where a turning point in American history unfolded. In typical Philbrick style, it's all there, right down to how the cast of characters looked. George Washington on a horse? "No one looked better." John Hancock? "Handsome, with the stubble of a beard on his clean-shaven cheeks."
There are almost 100 pages of notes and bibliography to back up all such claims.
Philbrick, as is often his way, once again reveals that things aren't always as they appear to be in our history books. Little-known names, like Dr. Joseph Warren, come forth as leaders of the patriots thanks to Philbrick's reporting, staking their claim to a rightful place in history alongside the Sam and John Adams of the world. Warren, for instance, was the man who gave Paul Revere the orders to sound the alarm. Who knew?
That said, be prepared for perhaps more than you ever wanted to know about the American Revolution and Bunker Hill, how Boston turned from an occupied city to a siege site, and the looks of Washington's thigh muscles while on a horse. If you are really, really, really interested in this sliver of American history, you will delight in the story and the multitude of details Philbrick offers up.
If you have only a passing interest, however, Bunker Hill will prove a long slog. A very long slog. It's almost as if Philbrick did too good a job researching his newest subject, his editors too poor a job tightening up the tale.
Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots be warned. This is not for the dilettante daytripper.
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