Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Book Review: The Whites of Their Eyes, by Paul Lockhart

By HistoryNet Staff 
Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: May 05, 2011 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army and the Emergence of George Washington, by Paul Lockhart, Harper, New York, 2011, $27.99

Paul Lockhart begins his entertaining account of the Battle of Bunker Hill by downplaying its military significance. The fighting was bloody but "laughably puny" in scale, and it ended with a British victory that decided nothing. Several months of stalemate followed until the Redcoats departed Boston in March 1776, after George Washington installed his artillery on Dorchester Heights. Even so, the Battle of Bunker Hill remains entrenched in American legend, right up there with Gettysburg and D-Day.

The power of Bunker Hill as an image in national mythology has made it susceptible to misconception and stereotype. Thus the British are remembered as robotic incompetents, marching in dense ranks to their doom. The Americans, by contrast, appear as free-thinking, sharpshooting Patriot farmers, underequipped but full of fight. Lockhart debunks any such myths, replacing them with more balanced portrayals of the battle and its combatants.

The Redcoats who fought at Bunker Hill were somewhat better trained than their American counterparts, but they were raw, inexperienced and prone to crack under the strain of combat. Fortunately for them, Maj. Gen. William Howe and his officers were solid tacticians. The Americans were neither well led nor particularly proficient marksmen—but they had passion, and that made all the difference.

The most refreshing aspect of Lockhart's account is his focus on the common soldiers and civilians who populated this event. Doing so allows him to present a broad and interesting new perspective on the battle. Big names like Howe, Israel Putnam and Artemas Ward appear regularly, too, and George Washington shows up in the battle's aftermath. The author's smooth narrative of the fighting presents Bunker Hill as a public event that crowds of civilians witnessed like an act onstage. This nicely written and carefully researched book offers exciting new insights on the Revolutionary War.

—Edward G. Lengel



Recommended


Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Weider History, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 Weider History. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy