Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick

Title: Bunker Hill
Author: Nathaniel Philbrick
Read by: Chris Sorensen
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Length: 11 CDs, approximately 13 hours
Source: Review Copy from Penguin Audio.  Thank-you!

Nathaniel Philbrick is a wonderful writer of history.  I greatly enjoyed his non-fiction book, Mayflower, and was more than a little excited to receive the audiobook of Bunker Hill to review from Penguin Audio.

Bunker Hill is a battle that every American school child is taught as a major battle of the Revolutionary War, but besides the fact that it was fought near Boston I didn’t know much about it.  I did know that America lost the battle, but that the colonists lost far few men than the British had to lose to make the victory possible.

Bunker Hill tells of the events leading up to the battle that actually took place on Breed’s Hill, not Bunker Hill.  From the fiery personalities involved on both sides, to the aftermath and its place in helping to secure the overall American victory, I found this book to be riveting.  I especially loved learning about General Joseph Warren.  He was a fascinating part of our history and it is interesting to wonder what would have happened if he would have lived.  I also loved learning that like most of our early heroes, he had his strengths and his weaknesses.

The most surreal moment of the book for me was when British General Howe was leading his troops up to the colonists’ fortifications on Breed’s Hill and he had a servant with him carrying champagne.  All I can say is, “wow.”  That is a totally different view of battle than I can ever imagine happening.  Also when Howe actually made it to the fort and realized he was the only officer that had made it there alive; it was a fantastic moment of the book.

I also loved how the story was bookended by John Quincy Adams.  Joseph Warren was a doctor and had repaired young Quincy Adams’s hand.  He and his mother Abigail had watched the battle from his home and it was a moment that deeply disturbed him.  At the end of the story as an old man, he still would not participate in any commemorations for the battle.

Chris Sorensen was a fantastic narrator.  His voice truthfully reminded me of Tom Hanks.  It was a great voice to listen to and was quite expressive while reading this book.

Overall, Bunker Hill is a fascinating look into our history and is not to be missed!


  1. Laura, your review is wonderful. I'm glad you enjoyed this audiobook so much. It does sound like an excellent book.

  2. I got a review copy, too, and my husband thought it was very good…. need to make time to listen to it myself!

  3. It takes a talented author and narrator to bring to life history. I love narrative non-fiction books.

  4. I will have to look for this--I have been consciously trying to read more American history, and Philbrick sounds like the kind of non-fiction writer I like. I'll look for the Mayflower book also.

  5. Thanks everyone! It is a great book, I highly recommend it!