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The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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From the Back Cover
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.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Lockhart does a fine job of analyzing the strategy of Artemis Ward, the rebel army's first commander-in-chief and General Gage of the British. He supports both of their cautious strategies leading up to the battle, outlining well both armies' weak points - which far outnumbered their strengths. He also accounts for the actions of the more belligerent underlings who forced the action in the battle.
The author also does a fine analysis of the "winners" and "losers" taking both short-term and long-term views on the issue. The Americans caused more casualties, the Brits took the hill, in the short-term. But Lockhart added deeper more insightful analyses of the long-term effects of the battle on the psyches of the soldiers and leaders on both sides.
Lastly, Mr. Lockhart also paints fine portraits of the participants by name, both the well-known and the little known, as well as the faceless soldiers on both sides.
This is an extremely well-researched and detailed history of a short period in our history. It is not a casual look, but one that is detailed in facts and well-honed in theory. A very complete history on the subject, perhaps not for the casual reader of history.
Far too many of these books focus on one side or the other but Lockhart is able to alternate between sides and while Gage and his British soldiers stew in Boston with all their problems of being besieged, we are treated to an almost laughable vision of the colonial army with way too many leaders and followers who frequently didn't, a supply system that was far from perfect and leaders who frequently led off their men on marches without telling their superiors, just because they wanted action.
Indeed Lockhart paints a picture of the siege of Boston in those early months where the generals of two completely unprepared armies lived in fear that the other side would attack them while their men chaffed at a chance for action against those people and to get out of their stinking camps. As the battle nears the humor elements quietly slip from the pages and a sense of inevitable settles in as two armies blunder into a battle neither general wanted.
There are a few problems with the book. Lockhart indulges in a little idol worship but like his research it falls on both sides and is even handed.Read more ›
The narrative is spellbinding in places, a bit confusing/wordy in others. However, it captures the flavor, the action, the carnage of that era, of those battles, the great generals and commanders as well as the "sleepers" who rose to prominence and who implored, wheedled, or ordered their men into fighting form on that fateful day at Bunker Hill, Charlestown, Breeds Hill and Roxbury.
As with any war, on both sides, there is also a war of egos within the upper ranks, orders are ignored or modified without permission, men break ranks and run, tactics are mulled over or improvised, opportunities wasted and mistakes turn the tide of battle, sending many more to their deaths.
Ole Putnam and his dynamic presence was beautifully fleshed out, as was John Stark (and his ruthless but brilliant tactics) and ("the first to go and the least remembered") Artemas Ward's exceptional leadership and devotion to duty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
concerning the Battle of Bunker Hill. I am only a casual reader of history but I found the description of the battle and the participants to be extremely clear and easy to follow. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Starfire
This was an account that gives much deserved credit to Artemus Ward. His efforts have been largely overlooked in most historiesPublished 13 months ago by Harry Freind
As others have mentioned, there were multiple factual errors which really take away from the book. Also I did not like the author describing the emotions of the participants when... Read morePublished 15 months ago by HM
An excellent book that adds to the history of the beginnings of the Revolutionary War.Published 17 months ago by Herbert S.
“The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington” is a rather in-depth account of the leading up to, and subsequent battle... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jonathan Weller
Paul Lockhart is a pleasure to read. I came across him as an author when I read his book The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: the Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Army. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mimi Coffey
The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington is a good read for anyone interested in military or US History. Read morePublished 23 months ago by RJ Stokely
Terrific military history of the famous Battle of Bunker Hill, (though on an around Breed's Hill in actuality) that clarifies popular legends and lore and sets the record straight... Read morePublished on July 24, 2014 by Bryn C. Dunham