Public Program - Nathaniel Philbrick

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 7:00pm
  • Antiquarian Hall

“Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution”
By Nathaniel Philbrick

Nat Philbrick, credit Ellen WarnerFor most of us the American Revolution is about the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and how George Washington led the colonies through the decade-long struggle that ultimately led to the formation of the United States. Lost in this account toward liberty is the truly cataclysmic nature of how the revolution began: the interplay of ideologies and personalities that provoked a group of merchants, farmers, artisans, and sailors to take up arms against their own country. In this lecture, based upon his forthcoming book Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, award-winning and bestselling author, Nathaniel Philbrick, describes pre-Revolutionary Boston—a city of 15,000 inhabitants packed onto a land-connected island of just 1.2 square miles—and the gradual up-tick of tension that climaxed in June 1775 with the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major and decisive battle of what became the American Revolution.

In Bunker Hill, which will be published by Viking Press on April 30, 2013, Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. As it turns out, the triumvirate of Founding Fathers generally associated with revolutionary Boston—John Adams, Sam Adams, and John Hancock—was nowhere to be found when it came to the real work of choreographing its outbreak. Thirty-three-year-old physician, Joseph Warren emerged as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause. Warren gave William Dawes and Paul Revere the orders to send out the alarm that British troops were headed to Concord; Warren remained in the city until the last possible moment, and was then elected President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress even as he supervised the organization of the nascent Continental Army.

Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War (2006), which was a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award and won the Massachusetts Book Award for nonfiction. Philbrick is also the author of the acclaimed international bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. Among the other books he has written are The Last Stand; Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition, 1838–42; Revenge of the Whale, an account of the Essex disaster for young readers; and The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ New World: The Story of Plymouth Colony for Young Readers. He is founding director of the Egan Maritime Institute on Nantucket Island and a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. A champion sailboat racer, he has also written extensively about sailing.

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