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All booksHistoryIn the Hurricane's Eye
In the Hurricane's Eye by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Hurricane's Eye

by Nathaniel Philbrick

Quick take

The heroic tale of a gritty general named George Washington and the epic battle that won the Revolutionary War.

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Why I love it

Siobhan Jones
BOTM Editorial Team

Years before landing the best job in the world—a.k.a. reading books for a living, a.k.a. Editorial Director at BOTM ;)—I was a middle school social studies teacher. Researching lessons was the best part; from Ancient Egypt to the Atomic Age, I was a sponge for it all. So when this Revolutionary War book landed on my desk, I welcomed the chance to nerd out. If you can relate, then good news! This might just be the read for you.

Everyone knows that George Washington won the Revolutionary War. But in Hurricane, master storyteller Nathaniel Philbrick recounts the little-known tale of how he teamed up with France’s navy to end it for good. Centuries before sonar and cell phones, this was no small feat; wars were won and lost by coordinating troops that were hundreds of miles apart. Yet somehow, against all odds, Washington managed to do just that, and the rest is history. This book tells that fascinating story.

If your eyes glazed over reading the above paragraph, you should definitely not choose this book. It’s military history, after all—not everyone’s cup of tea. That being said, it’s a remarkably character-driven story (picture curmudgeonly Washington verbally sparring with salty Lafayette and you’ll have a sense of the spirit that Philbrick conjures). If you’re seeking an informative and lively drama on the high seas, Hurricane will not disappoint.

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In the fall of 1780, after five frustrating years of war, George Washington had come to realize that the only way to defeat the British Empire was with the help of the French navy. But as he had learned after two years of trying, coordinating his army's movements with those of a fleet of warships based thousands of miles away was next to impossible. And then, on September 5, 1781, the impossible happened. Recognized today as one of the most important naval engagements in the history of the world, the Battle of the Chesapeake—fought without a single American ship—made the subsequent victory of the Americans at Yorktown a virtual inevitability.

In a narrative that moves from Washington's headquarters on the Hudson River, to the wooded hillside in North Carolina where Nathanael Greene fought Lord Cornwallis to a vicious draw, to Lafayette's brilliant series of maneuvers across Tidewater Virginia, Philbrick details the epic and suspenseful year through to its triumphant conclusion. A riveting and wide-ranging story, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, In the Hurricane's Eye reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Hurricane's Eye

Member thoughts

All (930)
All (930)
Love (298)
Like (471)
Dislike (161)
1175 ratings
  • 25% Love
  • 40% Like
  • 14% Dislike
  • Pittsburgh, PA

    Such a well-researched and interesting read. Learned so much about how the US really achieved its independence. Appreciated how Phil. displayed the main actors as real people, not mythical legends.

  • Edmeston , NY

    Excellent addition to the library of anyone who just can't get enough American Revolution! Especially appreciate the due given to often overlooked contributions of foreign allies, particularly France.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    Philbrick connects a story of coincidence, luck, and perseverance which inevitably saw the Colonies and its Allies win the Revolutionary War. I brisk page turner, you'll be captivated from the start.

  • Las Vegas, NV

    I have read the trilogy from Nathaniel Philbrick. I am a huge history buff, so I loved all 3 books. So many insights into the Minute Men and the horrendous conditions in which they fought & GW as well

  • Jacksonville, NC

    As a huge American history and Revolutionary War nerd, I was excited to dive into this book, and it did not disappoint. A heavy read but an incredible one that grants new perspective to this conflict.

  • Henrico, VA

    When you can make the tactical decisions of a naval battle enthralling, you have a gift. It’s fascinating and easy to read. This has to be some of the best historical non-fiction I’ve ever read.

  • Dorchester, MA

    I really enjoy Nathaniel Philbrick's writing style, and this one is no different. Well researched, told in a compelling narrative, and offers a new perspective on tales of history we think we know.

  • Asheville, NC

    I chose this book because I'm a big George Washington fan, but I learned so much more about the end of the Revolutionary War than I expected. Extremely interesting information, well-written history!

  • Stafford, VA

    This book gave me a completely different perspective of the Revolution. I liked the deep dive into how the French save the American cause. In addition, this book is a must read for Naval nerds.

  • Odessa, TX

    Best Non-fiction book I’ve read in ages. VERY strong writing. Loved the included military diagrams and paintings of people who played vital roles in the events of and leading up to Yorktown!

  • San Diego, CA

    Well-researched and dense, this is a compelling account of the Revolutionary War's end for history buffs. I wish I had taken notes as each paragraph was full of new and surprising information.


    I never read fiction novels, but this book about the events leading up to the Battle of Yorktown and the Revolutionary War in general was great! It was very easy to read and I feel smarter!

  • Maryville, TN

    This was a good historical read about a period that I knew about but had no details. And it is always a joy to read about what a remarkable man Washington was. Offer more books like this.

  • Due West, SC

    History buff who loves to read about things you don't learn in school. Washington was flawed and Philbrick doesn't mind showing those flaws. The perfect storm was needed for a victory.

  • Madison, WI

    I was a history major and a member of the Civil War Round Table. I've ready a lot of history books. This book was well written, fast paced and had a lot of interesting tidbit facts.

  • Roanoke , VA

    I kept wondering if we actually lost the war-a compelling, fascinating read. I think if you like actual history told more from a distant, Game of Thrones perspective, give it a try.


    If you are a history or nonfiction buff, you'll love this book. It's well written and researched, but it isn't dry. It reads more like a historical novel than a textbook. Loved it!

  • Portola Valley, CA

    A thoroughgoing look at the role of the naval campaign in the Battle of Yorktown and the eventual establishment of the United States. I felt I learned a great deal from reading it.

  • Northridge , CA

    Very dense book, but well written. Philbrick offers a more in depth look into the naval theatre of the American Revolution. Recommended for naval and history nerds (like me!).

  • Dallas, TX

    For lovers of history this book gives an amazing look at the revolutionary war and insights into the personalities that helped win the United States of America her freedom.

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