- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (May 15, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805060995
- ISBN-13: 978-0805060997
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Decisive Day: The Battle for Bunker Hill Paperback – May 15, 1999
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On the morning of June 17, 1775, British troops moved to secure the heights around Boston. Marching up an incline called Breed's Hill, they engaged a battered gathering of farmers and tradesmen who, the night before, had hastily constructed a defensive wall within range of the Royal Navy's artillery. Richard M. Ketchum tells the story of the ensuing fight in his breathtaking Decisive Day: The Battle for Bunker Hill.
Ketchum explores what made that bloody, but relatively small, action decisive by probing the deteriorating relationships between New England and Britain during the months before the battle. He forcefully argues that both the British and American commanders were still seeking ways to make peace even as the guns began to fire. After June 17, 1775, the Americans and the British could view each other only as enemies.
The author of two other books on the Revolutionary War (Saratoga and The Winter Soldiers), Ketchum has written an authoritative history of how Americans--especially the rank-and-file soldiers--won their nation through combat. In Decisive Day he argues that the remarkable transformation of American rebels into soldiers was a crucial, if intangible, episode within the battle. Indeed, as those tired and shell-shocked colonials waited on their ramparts for some of the most disciplined fighters in the world, they did not shoot haphazardly, but held their fire until they saw the whites of British eyes. --James Highfill
Top customer reviews
Bunker Hill was a remarkably savage battle. As battles go, it was not particularly large affair. Twelve hundred Americans fought twice as many British. Yet, as the author points out in his introduction, nearly half of the British and one third of the Americans fell. It was a slugfest from which neither side ran, one whose ramifications still define us to this day.
Richard Ketchum has written a winner. He presents both sides views and is quite sympathetic to each. His prose is clear, precise, and compact. His maps and depictions are excellent. You will not find a more complete, fairer rendering of this event. You can almost hear the sound of battle and smell the gun powder.
This is an altogether excellent effort penned by a gifted writer.
The book details the incidents and personalities that lead up to the battle. In fact, unless you have some background, you'll find the first 100 pages pretty slow going. But, the wait is worth it! The remainder of the book is fast paced and well written. It provides the best review of the details of this battle than any other source I have read.
This is a classic book, and if you want to get the whole picture of the beginning of our revolution, read "Paul Revere's Ride" first. They're better together!
Having committed some 2,300 troops to the battle, the British suffered more than a thousand casualties, including many officers, prompting the British commander to comment that another few such victories would destroy King George III's Army in America.
Ketchum's fine writing is accompanied by a series of excellent maps of Boston in 1775 and the troop dispositions of both armies on the day of the battle in June 1775 making the action he describes easy to follow.
I enjoy well written history and I look forward to reading Ketchum's other books on the American Revolutionary War.