Synopses & Reviews
Paul Lockhart combines military and political history to offer a major reassessment of one of the most famous battles in American history.
One hot June afternoon in 1775, on the gentle slopes of a hill near Boston, Massachusetts, a small band of ordinary Americans—frightened but fiercely determined—dared to stand up to a superior British force. The clash would be immortalized as the Battle of Bunker Hill: the first real engagement of the American Revolution and one of the most famous battles in our history.But Bunker Hill was not the battle that we have been taught to believe it was.
Revisiting old evidence and drawing on new research, historian Paul Lockhart, author of The Drillmaster of Valley Forge, shows that Bunker Hill was a clumsy engagement pitting one inexperienced army against another. Lockhart tells the rest of the story, too: how a mob of armed civilians became America's first army; how George Washington set aside his comfortable patrician life to take command of the veterans of Bunker Hill; and how the forgotten heroes of 1775—though overshadowed by themore famous Founding Fathers—kept the notion of American liberty alive, and thus made independence possible.
"The strengths and weaknesses of the early Revolutionary War effort are illuminated in this stimulating history (the second this season, after Thomas Nelson's The Fire and the Sword) of the first engagement and of the 1775 American siege of Boston. Historian Lockhart (The Drillmaster of Valley Forge) skillfully explains the factors that shaped it: the American blunder of fortifying Breed's Hill instead of the more defensible Bunker Hill; the British blunder of halting under fire instead of pressing home their bayonet charges; the ammunition shortfall on the American side that decided things; and the horrific British casualties. He sets the battle against a vivid portrait of the American army, a fractious, panicky, ill-disciplined force some of whose soldiers often walked off at the drop of a hat, but still managed to stand up to the vaunted Redcoats. (His account closes with an appalled George Washington taking over a camp that was the antithesis of Valley Forge.) Lockhart's shrewd, well-judged interpretation corrects myths about the battle and the men who fought it while doing full justice to their achievement in creating an army and a nation out of chaos. 17 b&w photos; 2 maps. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Drawingupon new research and scholarship, historian Paul Lockhart, author of thecritically acclaimed Revolutionary War biography The Drillmaster of ValleyForge, offers a penetrating reassessment of the first major engagement ofthe American Revolution. In the tradition of David McCulloughs 1776,Lockhart illuminates the Battle of Bunker Hill as a crucial event in thecreation of an American identity, dexterously interweaving the story of thispivotal pitched battle with two other momentous narratives: the creation ofAmericas first army, and the rise of the man who led it, George Washington.
About the Author
Paul Lockhart is a professor of history at Wright State University, where he teaches European and military history. He lives in Dayton, Ohio.