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Tag Archives:History

Nathaniel Philbrick - Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution

Bunker Hill, by Nathaniel Philbrick

Nathaniel Philbrick provides an excellent bridge between books that cover the ideological fervor of the Boston patriots and those that focus on the hard, years-long fight of the Revolutionary War. During the sixteen months between the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, key figures in Boston society worked hard to find a middle ground between the Patriots and the Loyalists.  The book pays particular attention to the efforts of the president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, Dr. Joseph Warren, to avoid open conflict and to the restraint and indecisiveness of Loyalist Governor Thomas Hutchinson.  While the opening chapters can be slow at times, readers will welcome the nuanced re-introduction to familiar figures like John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere, and the slow building of tension pays off with the dramatic events that began in April of 1775.

Philbrick's attention to detail in the movements and actions of the British Regulars and the Colonial Militia, and the popular responses to the events on both sides, is masterful.  The narrative climaxes at the Battle of Bunker Hill, with an impressive description of the bravery and the mistakes of militia leaders, British officers, and common soldiers.  The book would be a success if it ended there, but it continues with an engrossing account of the arrival of George Washington and his efforts to lead and to shape the Continental Army throughout the Siege of Boston.  Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution is a must read for lovers of American history, offering excellent insight to the political motivations, the military efforts, and the people who began the Revolutionary War.

Flight of the Sparrow

Flight of the Sparrow

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

Review by Diane Phillips, Technical Services Librarian
Set in Massachusetts in 1676, this novel is based on the life of Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan woman who was kidnapped by Native Americans. The author’s retelling of Mary’s story transports the reader to a turbulent past and establishes a personal connection to Mary, a captive who finds herself conflicted about which life really suits her – that of the colonists or the native people.

The Book Thief book cover

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Review by Nancy Ling, Outreach Services
Death as the narrator! This book had me from the first line: “Here is a small fact: you are going to die.” Definitely one of my top ten favorite books ever.

sagas of icelanders

The Sagas of Icelanders

The Sagas of Icelanders

Review by Jeff Hartman, Circulation Supervisor.
Written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Sagas of Icelanders tell the stories of Viking warriors and hardscrabble farmers who fought, loved, and explored the North Atlantic in the Middle Ages. Filled with details of everyday life, humorous anecdotes, and family history, the sagas are just as gripping today as they were eight hundred years ago.

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