In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown

In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown

The thrilling story of the Revolutionary War finale from the New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Valiant Ambition.Here is the story of the remarkable year leading up to the siege of Yorktown. It sets Washington against his traitorous nemesis Benedict Arnold and places him in impossible situations and constant acrimonious negotiation with his Fr...

DownloadRead Online
Title:In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown
Author:Nathaniel Philbrick
Rating:
Edition Language:English

In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown Reviews

  • Craig Pearson

    Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It is much more interesting to a historian to read about a specific event in a larger period such as the Battle of Yorktown during the American Revolution. The detailed behaviors and relationships of the main characters are developed to a greater extent than would be in a general volume. I have always had an admiration for the loser at Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis. I still believe he was a good commander but Philbrick shows hi

    Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It is much more interesting to a historian to read about a specific event in a larger period such as the Battle of Yorktown during the American Revolution. The detailed behaviors and relationships of the main characters are developed to a greater extent than would be in a general volume. I have always had an admiration for the loser at Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis. I still believe he was a good commander but Philbrick shows his poor decision making to be critical to the eventual loss of the war by the British. The maps are concise but not too detailed to be confusing. This book is highly readable as summer reading and for historical research.

  • Rick

    Full disclosure: I received this book as an ARC. Here is my take.

    “In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown” by Nathaniel Philbrick was very entertaining. When writing on a subject with such scope - an author can write broadly on the subject with little depth, or narrowly with great depth – this tale is written narrowly on a single period of battle – essentially the last year of the revolutionary War – but with great depth to give us the whole story. I

    Full disclosure: I received this book as an ARC. Here is my take.

    “In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown” by Nathaniel Philbrick was very entertaining. When writing on a subject with such scope - an author can write broadly on the subject with little depth, or narrowly with great depth – this tale is written narrowly on a single period of battle – essentially the last year of the revolutionary War – but with great depth to give us the whole story. I thought it was near masterful. Philbrick – who seemingly publishes a book every six months or so – chooses to write on interesting yet little-known or superficially-known subjects, and then tells us about that subject with great depth. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure. For the narrative itself I give it 4 stars … but added the fifth for a couple of reasons.

    Many seafaring tales of the tall-ships days display all the nautical terms but fail to give the reader a grounding in the terminology – Philbrick avoids this mistake by at least mentioning the first time used what each term refers to – without weighing us down in minutia. For example, while those familiar with sailing terms will immediately recognize port and starboard, Philbrick puts the reader at ease with the simple mention of left and right. The second stylistic note worth mention was the maps. Often authors fail to give adequate maps forcing the reader to disengage from the storyline to get grounded. For example, while I know where Mount Vernon, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Saratoga, and Yorktown are – it helps to be reminded of their relationship to each other. Philbrick gives us a map just about every time we are about to need one. He also includes maps showing how the tall ships move around the battle scenes – for example, what wearing is, how they form a line of battle, and what having the wind does.

    While at first I thought writing on such a narrow subject might be boring, I ended up turning the pages with ease. Philbrick has a nice style and draws the reader in. I highly recommend this entry into the early days of American history.

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    Considering how few Americans actually participated

    Considering how few Americans actually participated in the American Revolution, I feel very fortunate to have three ancestors who played significant roles in the conflict. It is disappointing to discover the actual lackluster support the war had among the American population. Certainly, there are many who benefited from breaking the ties with Britain who never raised a finger or a coin in support of the cause. Nathaniel Philbrick drops his readers right in the middle of the final years of the war. The patriots have reached a do or die moment and without France’s support, the spark of war would have fizzled and burned out like a wet fuse.

    General George Washington is exasperated beyond measure. Even his own family, to keep Mount Vernon from being burned, offers aid and comfort to the enemy. Congress refuses to pay his soldiers or feed and cloth them properly. Most Americans are refusing to serve or help in any capacity to earn their own freedoms. One thing that Washington and all his generals know is that they can’t afford to lose a big battle because any major loss of American lives will be catastrophic. They can’t count on more American men volunteering to replace them.

    A great example of this pressure creating caution in the American leadership is the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina, where General Nathanael Greene has an opportunity to crush Lord Charles Cornwallis. He outnumbers him two to one, but he settles for knocking the British around a bit and then fades away to fight another day. Right after the battle, over a ¼ of his soldiers leave to go back home. That is a constant struggle for American leaders during the war, the never really knowing how many men you will have available on any given day. These are not professional soldiers, but citizens who can melt back into the population at any time.

    It doesn’t help that they aren’t being paid. It is hard to feed a family on a hope and a prayer.

    The ineffectiveness, the in-fighting, and the bipartisan support for their own favorite generals by the Continental Congress contributes greatly to hampering the war effort, but also to the eventual betrayal by General Benedict Arnold. He has been passed over for promotion on numerous occasions. He has spent the greater part of his own personal fortune trying to supply his men and finds Congress time and again less than interested in reimbursing him.

    I’ve read that Arnold often wished he had died at Saratoga. He would have died an American hero, and children, schools, and cities, would have been named after him. Historians, too, who had developed a sympathy for him, often wished the same thing.

    When Washington sees the strategic opportunity presented by Cornwallis fortifying himself at Yorktown, he wonders how he will convince his soldiers to march several hundred miles south to fight this opportunistic battle on an empty stomach, in rags, and still with no money in their pockets. The French decide to give Washington the money to pay his troops. (The money actually comes from donations from Spanish residents in Cuba. Yeah, work that around in your head for a while.) As one soldier remarks, it was the only pay he ever receives the whole time he is “in uniform” for the cause.

    The French are starting to feel more and more, for good reason, that this is their war. Washington can make suggestions, but he has no real authority with what the French army or navy decide to do. The French and British have been enemies for centuries, and the number of battles fought between these countries are probably greater than any other two countries in the history of civilization. The French have their own ideas about how to defeat the British, and one of them has to do with new tactics they have started using against the British Navy. Traditionally, the naval outcomes have been lopsided between French and British forces, but that is all about to change.

    So Washington is moving south as fast as he can to try and keep Cornwallis bottle necked at Yorktown. He has no idea if the French Navy, commanded by Admiral De Grasse, will arrive in time to keep Cornwallis pinned on shore.

    At the battle that will effectively end the war and gain America independence there are about 11,000 American soldiers and about 8,000 French Regulars, but if you include all the French sailors on ships in the bay, the total of French participants in the Siege of Yorktown reaches 40,000. It isn’t so much an American victory as it is a French victory.

    So when you hear people mouthing off about how the French would be speaking German if the Americans had not liberated them during World War II, please do point out to them that our much admired War of Independence certainly wouldn’t have been achieved in 1781 (the war continued until 1783, but it was effectively over at Yorktown.) without the assistance of the French.

    Once again Philbrick changes how I see history. While I had pieces of what he brings to light in this book, as always he brings it together in crystallized, brilliantly written prose that will give me much to think about for a long, long time. Every American should read this book. Our heads are so full of misinformation about our own history that it is important to actually, finally see our own history as it really happened. His other books that precede this book,

    , are also insightful, highly readable, and important additions to the canon of the American historical record.

    If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit

    I also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Geoffrey

    (Note: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley)

    For the overwhelming majority of us, the Battle of Yorktown is little more than a quick mention from our history textbooks as the final major battle of the American Revolution. And to say the least, we miss out on quite a bit of all that led up to the pivotal moment. This includes amazing military and logistical maneuvers, numerous characters who stepped up to the plate when necessary to single-handedly save the day

    (Note: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley)

    For the overwhelming majority of us, the Battle of Yorktown is little more than a quick mention from our history textbooks as the final major battle of the American Revolution. And to say the least, we miss out on quite a bit of all that led up to the pivotal moment. This includes amazing military and logistical maneuvers, numerous characters who stepped up to the plate when necessary to single-handedly save the day, several instances of pure good luck, and all it taking place in a grand setting that encompassed nearly entire length of the Thirteen Colonies and the Caribbean. Most of us have no idea of the grand scope of everything that had to fall into place in order to set the stage for the Franco-American victory at Yorktown.

    To say the least, master history writer Nathaniel Philbrick's new work "In the Hurricane's Eye" will be appreciated by many for its ability to fill in some heavy knowledge gaps and ability to help give a solid handle on all that encompassed the amazing path to the final battle of the American Revolution

    ....And of course, if those exact specifics aren't quite what you're looking for, don't worry. If you're looking for nothing more than an exciting yet also enjoyably informative American history read, Philbrick once again comes through in spades.

  • Nancy

    The defeated British army trudged out of the ruins of Yorktown to the slow beat of a drum, surrounded by the American militia on one side of the road and the French on the other. The British General and his army showed their disdain of the Americans, giving their attention to the French. How could a barely clothed army of ill-fed and unpaid country yahoos defeat their magnificence? Only the French were worthy enemies.

    And yet somehow General George Washington had achieved the unthinkable. Yes, he

    The defeated British army trudged out of the ruins of Yorktown to the slow beat of a drum, surrounded by the American militia on one side of the road and the French on the other. The British General and his army showed their disdain of the Americans, giving their attention to the French. How could a barely clothed army of ill-fed and unpaid country yahoos defeat their magnificence? Only the French were worthy enemies.

    And yet somehow General George Washington had achieved the unthinkable. Yes, he needed the French navy to do it. He knew this battle would be fought on water. And even if the French generals often ignored Washington's directive and did what they wanted, they were pivotal.

    It all started with hurricanes in the Caribbean. The French were forced to move their ships to safer latitudes. The rest is history. The history Philbrick covers In The Hurricane's Eye.

    Maps show readers the battles that are the focus of this installment of Philbrick's history of the Revolutionary War. There is no focus on one big personality, like Benedict Arnold was in Philbrick's previous volume Valiant Ambition. This is an ensemble cast of characters--British, French, and American.

    But some things stand out. Washington for his ability to reign in his passions to keep a cool head. A favorite story is how Washington deceived the British by building ovens to bake the fresh bread the French army found a necessity on a route to New York City while the army headed south.

    Readers are reminded of the plight of the common American militiaman, who after six years at war are released without recompense, worn out, to an uncertain future. 200,000 men had served. The escaped slaves who served the British with hopes of freedom were left without protection, starving and diseased, preyed upon by Southerners rounding up their property.

    At war's end, America consisted of individual states unwilling to work together. They would not agree on taxes to pay for the war, and now they all vied for their own concerns. Anarchy threatened.

    This narrative takes readers on a journey into an understanding of our past that will challenge the simplistic vision of America's beginnings encountered in school textbooks. Was victory at Yorktown all because of hurricanes? Or Washington's superior leadership? Was it because the French funded the war that Americans refused to support financially? Or the missteps of British generals?

    Near the end of the book, Washington is quoted from a letter written to the French Admiral de Grasse: "A great mind knows how to make personal sacrifices to secure an important general good." I was appalled by the war crimes and suffering described in the book, but I was also inspired by Washington's ability to always chose what was right for his country. If only our leaders today would channel the Founding Father's vision of personal sacrifice and self-control, to do what was right for the many and the country.

    I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  • Abby Morris

    I am absolutely fascinated with the events surrounding the American Revolution- call me a sucker for the most unlikely victories one could imagine- and I love an opportunity to dig in to the time period with my reading. I enjoyed this book, but it was lacking a bit of the personal touch that I come to rely on during reading. These were amazingly normal people who did extraordinary things, so I hate to miss out on that. I somewhat knew most of the characters already, so that helped, but the book

    I am absolutely fascinated with the events surrounding the American Revolution- call me a sucker for the most unlikely victories one could imagine- and I love an opportunity to dig in to the time period with my reading. I enjoyed this book, but it was lacking a bit of the personal touch that I come to rely on during reading. These were amazingly normal people who did extraordinary things, so I hate to miss out on that. I somewhat knew most of the characters already, so that helped, but the book was still a slow and dense read. I am still happy to report that I learned quite a bit about the last year of the American Revolution, which was a treat.

  • Kathleen

    Despite the Philbrick’s title, In the Hurricane’s Eye, Washington appears to be less of a genius than ‘lucky’ in the Victory at Yorktown. How so? Let me count the ways—

    o Washington’s genius was unique in recognizing that victory would be achieved only by first challenging the overwhelming sea power of the British fleet. France and its navy entered the war on the side of the colonies in 1778, but didn’t show up in force until 1781.

    o France (and England) valued the sugar plantations in the Caribbe

    Despite the Philbrick’s title, In the Hurricane’s Eye, Washington appears to be less of a genius than ‘lucky’ in the Victory at Yorktown. How so? Let me count the ways—

    o Washington’s genius was unique in recognizing that victory would be achieved only by first challenging the overwhelming sea power of the British fleet. France and its navy entered the war on the side of the colonies in 1778, but didn’t show up in force until 1781.

    o France (and England) valued the sugar plantations in the Caribbean much more than the colonies. France’s navy weathered three severe hurricanes there in 1780, so was much more amenable to head north during the hurricane season in 1781.

    o Washington wanted the French navy to challenge the British navy in New York harbor—closer to where his army was. The French preferred Chesapeake Bay where Cornwallis was. This was fortunate: Cornwallis was an impetuous commander and his soldiers had committed some heinous acts of cruelty that solidified American resistance in the Carolinas. The British were much more entrenched in New York.

    o Washington was able to move his army south to the Chesapeake Bay without General Clinton, located in New York, taking notice until it was much too late for him to stop Washington.

    o And who knew that America is deeply indebted to Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, who convinced the businessmen of Havana to loan the French fleet a half-million pesos. This allowed the French sailors (and Americans) to be paid. The Americans, in particular, suffered poor morale and were deserting in ever increasing numbers—especially when they had not been receiving any pay for long periods of time.

    o There was also a shift in the wind during the Battle of the Chesapeake that greatly benefitted the French fleet. Divine intervention?

    Philbrick claims that it was the French that rescued the Americans: “The bitter truth was that by the summer of 1781 the American Revolution had failed…The very existence of the United States now rested with the soldiers and sailors of another nation.” In addition to the invaluable help from the French navy, the French also supplied half of the regular troops at Yorktown.

    Philbrick is a sailor himself, and his descriptions of naval maneuvers and strategy shows this intimate knowledge. Recommend.

  • Joyce

    Thanks to historians like Nathaniel Philbrick, who bring historical personages and events to life in accessible, intelligent prose, I know more history than I ever learned in school. And Scott Brick proves an excellent narrator for this riveting account of the Battle of the Chesapeake and the victory of the French navy which set up Washington's victory at Yorktown and the ultimate victory over England in the Revolutionary War. It's a great story that proves Washington's argument that you need a

    Thanks to historians like Nathaniel Philbrick, who bring historical personages and events to life in accessible, intelligent prose, I know more history than I ever learned in school. And Scott Brick proves an excellent narrator for this riveting account of the Battle of the Chesapeake and the victory of the French navy which set up Washington's victory at Yorktown and the ultimate victory over England in the Revolutionary War. It's a great story that proves Washington's argument that you need a solid navy to complement the infantry. My history books never made it clear that the ragtag American army (I did know that part) was on the verge of losing the war--the army hadn't been paid, Congress was not forthcoming, the patriots were still battling loyalists figuratively and literally, and things looked bleak. Thanks to the French and their navy, along with Lafayette and Washington's military planning, things changed after this battle. The book moves at a steady pace as Philbrick adds details of military, political, and social fronts, but battle scenes ratchet up the pace; as always Philbrick provides an interesting perspective on characters, Washington especially, but also Benedict Arnold who appears as an English officer and gets his comeuppance; Philbrick has chosen a rather obscure battle--or at least one not usually highlighted--and has made an excellent case for its importance; lots of details--historical, military, cultural--and a real sense of time and place; Philbrick's style is compelling and his use of primary sources along with his journalistic writing makes for an authoritative but accessible account. As always, Philbrick has written a compulsively readable historical account.

  • Book of the Month

    Why I love it

    by Siobhan Jones

    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

    Why I love it

    by Siobhan Jones

    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

    , 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.

    Now, listen up, class: 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,

    will not disappoint.

    Read more at:

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.