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In the Hurricane's Eye by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Hurricane's Eye

by Nathaniel Philbrick

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

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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

Why I love it

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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Member ratings (1,319)

  • Brittany O.

    Portsmouth, VA

    A fascinating look into the revolution and so well written! I’m not that into military history, but I think the author could make anything interesting. I will definitely check out more of his books!

  • Emily J.

    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.

  • Alex C.

    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.

  • Christine L.

    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.

  • Alex W.

    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.