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Nathaniel Philbrick`s book covers the opening years of the War of Independence, concentrating on the Battle of Bunker Hill and ending with the siege and evacuation of Boston in 1776.

This is a generally decent account of the social, political and - ultimately - military situations faced by both sides in the ensuing conflict. A little American bias creeps in - understandable, perhaps, as it is widely believed by most Americans that the right guys won(!) but this doesn't detract anything from the content of the book for the UK reader. Philbrick also puts Dr. Joseph Warren at centre-stage for large parts of his study, referencing him both in his opening pages and in his epilogue; Warren died at Bunker Hill – an early revolutionary martyr – history may well have played out very differently had he survived.
There are copious reference notes for each chapter at the back of the book which indicate that the author has certainly done a great deal of research for this and he provides good background and contextual detail for the events he covers. He presents his narrative in a fairly open and non-judgemental style, though at times the conclusions and interpretations he perhaps intends the viewer to arrive at were not necessarily the ones I did.
I'll come clean at this stage and admit that having read a number of books on this subject, I have grown tired of earlier American historians regurgitating the old myths that muddied the waters and inevitably made one side saints and the other the very devils; Philbrick is, thank goodness, a more revisionist writer than that and he is, for the most part, pretty fair.
All the same, I would have liked an answer to a question that has long troubled me; when the British mounted the raid on Concord in order to seize military supplies hidden there, it was known that a number of cannon had been spirited away from Boston to that location - Philbrick lists them on p.88 as” 4 brass field pieces, 2 mortars”. There were in fact 3, 24-pounder guns among them; these were not field guns but siege guns, heavy weapons requiring much man-power and large horse-teams to move and operate them and with only one purpose. Information of this may well explain the apparent haste with which the British expedition was put together. Why and how did these guns come to be in Boston? Who supplied/paid for them and when? As Philbrick is fond of saying at various points in the book, we'll never know... He is not alone in skipping over this though, I`ve yet to read a proper analysis of this in any account of the battles of Lexington/Concord.
I also feel that his telling of the evacuation of Boston isn't quite accurate; the British had known for a long time that they would have to abandon the city and make the taking of New York City their main strategic goal; although the Patriots forced their hand, the evacuation wasn't a completely panic-stricken event, but was a more orderly withdrawal, albeit with some compromise and hampered by a severe and damaging storm. A better and more balanced account, in my opinion, is offered by David McCullough in his Book 1776: America and Britain at War.

This is, however, an enjoyable and thoroughly detailed read, well worth your time and useful as a study of this early period in the revolution.
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on 9 July 2013
Wonderful narrative of what led to the armed start of the american Revolution with very good drafted portraits of the players involved. A great bonus is that the book gives a thorough account of Joseph Warren's contribution to the fight for independence. In the books I have read so far he has mostly been given just a few lines. Here he gets his proper place!
Philbrick account of the events is engaging with details of places, persons and events to an extent that you feel as you were there. It's one of those book you wished would never end.
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on 22 September 2013
Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the American War of Independence, or has a vague idea of the Tea Party in Boston will enjoy this eminently readable account of the events leading up to the war, whilst giving life to the main players in the drama. Who has heard of King Philip's war ? Was the Tea Party an act of trade protection ? Fascinating, giving new insights to those momentous days. A compelling read, quite unlike traditional heavy history books.
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on 18 November 2013
While the author has undoubtedly spent a lot of time researching this book, it does not really translate into an interesting read. The author jumps backwards and forwards in time and tells the story from both sides of the battle. I've read other historical books that were based on a lot of research (e.g. 'The Island at the Center of the World' by Russell Shorto) that still managed to make the book enjoyable to read.
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on 19 October 2013
More British regimental detail would have enhanced this very good book. A recommended read for those that enjoy this area of history.
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on 19 December 2014
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on 29 May 2015
Well written.
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on 6 June 2013
A fascinating period in history when families were split into those who fought for their king and others for a new nation. How unfortunate, then, that this book is ruined by a cover which shows an early American flag (but not the earliest, which bore the Union Flag in the top-left corner) and a Union Flag dating from the nineteenth century, not the correct flag from the time of the American Revolution!

The Union Flag, at the time of the American Revolution, comprised the united flags of Scotland and England. The Irish Cross of St Patrick, which is another Saltire like the Scottish St Andrew's Cross, was not part of the British flag until 1801. However, that is the Union Flag on the front of this book. Surely, someone must have noticed?
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on 21 July 2013
Book was satisfactory and I was happy enough with it. I have a lot of books bought from Amazon is it easy to sell them back to you.?
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