Bunker Hill: A city, A Siege, A revolution was written by Philbrick in 2013. This book is about the events of 1775 which sparked the American Revolution. The book focused on the events of the battle of Boston and traced the experience of many leaders of America like Dr. Joseph Warren, George Washington who was newly recruited and William Howe the then British General. The book Bunker Hill is a biography of Boston City and the colony Massachusetts and men and women who were compelled to decide between loyalty or liberty, autocracy or treachery. The purpose of this book is to introduce the forgotten heroes of America to the new generation, and the author was successful in this mission. The book contains a sequence of events starting from a massacre in Boston in 1776 (Philbrick). The Author of this book Nathaniel Philbrick was born in Boston and published his first book in 1994 “Away Off Shore” He won a New York Times bestseller in 2000 and in 2013 he published his book “Bunker Hill” which was also a New York Times Bestseller. Books written by Nathaniel mostly are related to the American history. His books contain liberal perspectives and glorify the American heroes in the best possible way.
This book is written to exalt the American heroes who played there part in liberating America. The book is for the young generation who have forgotten the history of USA. The vivid description of the events and the simple language used by the author in this book attracts readers easily. Although the book does not contain any visuals but the way the author described the events enable the readers to visualize the whole event easily. The chronological organization of events, the simple and descriptive writing style of the author, makes this book interesting for people of every background and age.
The main aim or idea of the book is to take the readers back to the time when nothing was settled, and everything was in chaos. The author’s strives to remind the readers of the time when British Empire was mighty and what kind of hardships our ancestors faced during that era. The battle of Bunker Hill is a 200 years old event. The telling and retelling of the story have created a quagmire of muddled truths and tales. It was very essential to tell the exact details of the battle. Nathaniel has helped in this battle and gave an accurate picture of the event. It is said that the best description can be obtained by those who had lived the event. The impressive fact that in this book the author gave an impressive assemblage of documentation at the end of the book which supports his statements.
The main hero of the book “Bunker Hill” is Dr. Joseph Warren who was a physician in Boston and president of the provincial congress Massachusetts. Nathaniel gave a real picture of the leadership qualities of Warren during the revolution. The description of how Warren was ranked as a major general but he chose to be a foot soldier on the day of the battle. The loyalty of Dr. Joseph is depicted in the book when Nathaniel in chapter six called him the most patriotic person left in Boston. The author was apparent in expressing the fact that the death of Warren was a huge loss for America. He removed Dr. Joseph in the middle of the story leaving a profound impact on the readers. Ending a character suddenly leaves the readers unprepared and in shock and they miss that character the most. Nathaniel did the same with the role of Warren which showed how vital Dr. Joseph was (Holland et al.).
The author skillfully described the events and skirmishes at Lexington and Concord in April 1775. He knew exactly what he was doing and when he started describing the battle of Bunker Hill he gave meticulous details of the event of both sides. The subtitle of the book A city, a Siege, a Revolution illuminates the intention of the author who is trying to solidify the fact about the power of the British Empire. The people of Boston had fought many wars against the French and the Indians side by side with the British. But the last war left a financial burden on the British, and they decided to cover it up by imposing different Acts on the 13 colonies.
The author wrote about the feelings and intentions of the Boston people regarding The stamp act and the Boston Tea party in 1773 in chapter 1. He described each detail of the acts of British and the reaction of Boston people and how all this changed into the Battle of Bunker Hill. The author was clear in explaining the point that Boston was seething with rebellions (Philbrick). About 2200 British soldiers marched to the battle field lead by Major General William Howe. He described how the Americans were losing the battle and what they did to win it.
The objective of this book is also to highlight other ordinary people who were not famous, but they made a difference in the war because of their bravery. The stories of great courage such that of an unnamed sharpshooter who shot down more than 20 officers before being killed. Another person glorified by the author was Salem poor who was an African American. He was a brave person who took down Major John Pitcairn. Or Colonel William Prescott who was a great patriot superintending a defensive fort built by the soldiers on the Breed’s Hill. Calling the actions of Major John as the most inspiring display of courage shows how he portray these men as patriots and courageous (Philbrick). The authors did not fail in showing the true colors of the battle and these people. It is crucial for the young generation to know the importance of each person playing a role in the battle. It is important to acknowledge that this book is not about fighting and battles only.
Nathaniel also gave a human perspective and elaborated other things happing at the same time. He described how the wife of General Gage show off her riches and how the Redcoat soldiers looted the house and farms and how the people of Boston would stand on the rooftops to look at the battle. Nathaniel justified his profession by staying unbiased to the happenings of the Boston. He did not flinch in highlighting the mistakes of both sides, the petty-mindedness and peevishness of both sides and the manipulation by the political system from both sides.
The key persons in this book are Dr. Warren who was a patriot and a brave person. He played a significant role in the battle of Bunker Hill. The book shows how the death of Warren was a serious blow to everyone including John Quincy who even after becoming a public figure never attended the anniversary celebration of the battle. The actions of Dr. Warren during the revolutionary movement in Massachusetts made him a patriotic person (Holland et al.). He was a member of the committee of safety, and he was the one who gave an alert to the people that British are coming. He helped in the creation of the army. All these works of Warren made him the most prominent person in this book as well as in the history of USA. The main event of this book was the battle of Bunker Hills. The uninterrupted journey of the people of Boston in this book revolves around the Battle of Bunker Hill. The book illustrates the events before the battle which lead the people of Boston to cry liberation and independence. And the events and situation after the victory of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Battle of Bunker Hills was one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution, and the author was successful in eradicating all the misunderstandings related to the battle.
Reading this book was helpful in creating an understanding of the events in Boston clearly which her mired because of telling and retelling of the story. The events, characters, and reasons leading the people of Boston toward a revolution were confusing before reading this book. This book through a narration of a story explained the whole series of events. Another thing which I didn’t know before reading this book was that the Battle of Bunker Hill was not fought on the Bunker Hill. It was in fact fought on Breed’s Hill. Before reading this book, I was not aware of the manipulations and atrocities was done by the American political leaders. This book gave character analysis of many prominent personalities of that time. Nathaniel Philbrick was successful in providing a clear illustration of the situation in America in 1770’s. His arguments and statements were clear and supported by detailed documentation present at the end of the book. It was a nice and interesting book that I will recommend to all young people so that they can learn about the battle of Bunker Hill which changed the history of USA.
Holland, Ryan, et al. “Joseph Warren: A Discussion of His Life and Analysis of His Death.” Neurosurgical Focus, vol. 39, no. 1, 2015, p. E13.
Philbrick, Nathaniel. Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution. Random House, 2013.