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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  210 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Viking
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Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
(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
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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
Craig Pearson
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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 ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Abby Morris
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Dan Downing
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Readers of history often forget that many authors are making an argument for a particular point of view. Mr. Philbrick certainly has an argument he is making, and he is clear about it. Further, in his Notes he laboriously lists---in microscopic print---his sources and sometimes their detractors. That makes for interesting reading well after the main body has been consumed. Also included is a "Where are they now" section. Well, not really, since we know every actor on that Revolutionary Stage lon ...more
Scott Martin
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good work from Philbrick, this one offers a take on the latter stages of the American Revolution, focusing on the naval actions associated with the French fleet that would ultimately help Washington defeat the British at Yorktown. It discusses the various interactions between Washington and his French counterparts, as well as the actions of other American and British Generals, as the war shifted from the Northern part of the United States to the Southern Strategy of the British. As the f ...more
Jeff J.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating account of the Battle of the Chesapeake between the British and French navies, which culminated in the end of the American revolution at Yorktown. Too often this battle is overlooked in accounts of the revolution due to the minimal American presence, although Philbrick establishes that George Washington was the mastermind of the plot. Other personalities - Jefferson, Hamilton, Arnold, Cornwallis - don’t come off so well. Towards the end Philbrick derails the narrative somewhat with ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The latest in the series of books on the battles of the American Revolution by the author. This one like his previous works in the series did not disappoint. Very interesting and very detailed. This book describes the last year of the war and the last naval engagement of the American Revolution. With the aid of the French navy, Washington defeated the British at the Battle of Yorktown.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Viking for the ARC
Dan Graser
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nathaniel Philbrick's credentials as a historian and story-teller are by now, very well established and any new work from him is a cause for celebration. In his latest work he has chosen to focus on the build-up and many surrounding facets to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, precipitating the end of the American Revolution.

Not skimping on the detail in the slightest, Philbrick shows the myriad ways in which this fortuitous trapping of Britain's largest army south of NY came about, b
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have read several of Philbrick's books and I'm always impressed by how he creates a narrative around an important event, and his research and detail is impressive. His latest book is two stories - one of the French navy and one of the French and American troops led by Washington. I think all I learned about Yorktown is that Cornwallis surrendered there and the war ended. What an understatement! So many pieces had to fall into place, including the weather. If hurricanes hadn't been decimating t ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Much, MUCH better than his previous book about Benedict Arnold. This has a greater and tighter focus, perhaps because he's not covering material fairly well known to many history buffs, and because he doesn't have a halfway dual biography restraint to let him think he's got focus when he doesn't. (I thought that was a problem with the Arnold book.)

I learned several new things from this book. I knew the basics of the Battle of the Straits, but did not know why Romney was not there. I also did not
BethAnn BookBumming
In the Hurricane’s Eye- The Genius Of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick is a MUST READ for anyone who loves American Revolution History as well as anyone who just loves an epic story that is 100% true.
“ In the account that follows I hope to put the sea where it properly belongs: at the center of the story.” 🌊
Nathaniel Philbrick does EXACTLY that. Shinning emphasis of the vital importance of the French Alliance and America’s proximity to the sea.. “This is the
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I read a lot of history. All too often, I have to put a book aside or struggle through it because the author seems more concerned with impressing his peers with his perspicacity and erudition than with informing the general reader. Consequently, I am delighted when I find an author who is both a good historian and an enjoyable writer. I have a list of half a dozen or so who I follow closely and eagerly await their next book. Nathaniel Philbrick is certainly at the top of this list. In the Hurric ...more
John Wood
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The defeat of the British by a rebellious group of colonists, unlikely, foolhardy, even unbelievable, this book explores the ultimate victory in depth, illustrating the players, the weather, the luck, everything that happened. Unlike schoolbook history, we learn more than a superficial outline. We become aware that it was a combination of multiple factors and decisions, not always cut and dried. The relationship between two main allies, the French and the future Americans was often contentious a ...more
When I read a nonfiction book I like to learn new-to-me facts that I didn't know before. A couple stand out for me that I learned reading about the victory at Yorktown. The first is Lord Cornwallis wife who died in 1778 at the age of 32 was so angry that her husband had left her and their two kids to command British forces in America that she mandated a thorn tree be planted at her grave to signify her sorrow. The second is of the estimated 30,000 slaves shipped to Haiti annually more than a thi ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
*Disclaimer: I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway*

From grade school, I remember being taught of the importance of the French involvement in the revolutionary war, but the focus was primarily on the early years of the war through Valley Forge. After this point, it was more "blah blah, things happened, then Yorktown" so I was very excited to get my hands on Philbrick's account of the latter years of the war, with a focus on what to me feels like a forgotten part of our history. This book is an engag
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
More like 3 1/2 stars, but Philbrick is so good at what he does, you have to round up for him. This book is about Washington, but it's more about the lesser known perspective of the American Revolution, the importance of naval forces to the end result. Philbrick makes a good case that this notion was always on Washington's mind and he was wary of whether or not the French would come through --knowing that without them, the rebellion was doomed. The book is well researched and does a lot to promo ...more
Rebel Sandwich
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining and educational, but deviated from chronological order at times which made it confusing to follow the sequencing of events as they unfolded. Also, this book did a poor job of substantiating the claim in the title of the book that Washington was a genius. Instead, the book makes a better case that the French were more responsible for the Siege of Yorktown. One exception was Washington’s feint to attack NY while on his way to the Chesapeake. Definitely a great critically important mov ...more
Jim Jaqcobs
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A tedious beginning but then into the heart of history; unusual that Philbrick's research and understanding of the participants was devoted, in large part, to exploring and largely defining participants from the common soldier to admirals and and generals. And obscure participants such as the Spanish Diplomat, a key player as a conciliator and strategist, who understood Washington and the French. He helped bring about resolution and victory in that long struggle.
To most readers he is unknown and
Bob T
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very detailed account of the battles that led to the end of the Revolutionary War. The details of the naval battles can be a bit cumbersome (apparently this is one of Philbrick's areas of strength), but the diagrams certainly help. The role of the French navy looms large in the American victory, even if the relationship between Washington and the French was somewhat contentious. This is not the story I remember from high school!
Jason Bergman
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Dry as tinder, dull as the muddy waters of the Chesapeake. I never give up on a book, but after 70 pages of this thing, I knew I wasn't going to make it.

I don't mind overly tactical writing - I've read lots of books like that - but Philbrick managed to take any interest or excitement out of his writing by endless, endless naval detail.

There's absolutely an audience for this, but I like a bit more humanity, and less keelhaul in my war stories. Very disappointing.
Marty Nicholas
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Detailed account of the 1781 events leading up to the siege at Yorktown. An amazing series of events leading to victory make for fine reading. In my review of Philbrick's "Valiant Ambition" I mentioned wanting more of Washington and the later career of Benedict Arnold. Yes, answered on both counts. Washington's final months as General Washington were well done and the topic of slavery, black troops and returned "property" was timely and thought provoking.
Stephanie Hatch
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I got this book from goodreads first reads. Even with its selected focus on the consequences of seas and waterways during the American Revolutionary War it was a delightful, well rounded book. It spared great care in explaining maritime stuff for those that are unfamiliar with that sort of thing and has great maps. The prolific use of historic quotes kept the work lively and engaging. In some areas the tone was oddly defensive.
Jeff Bobin
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The success of the American revolution hung in the balance and this is an excellent account of the last couple years of the war.

While the victory at Yorktown is the key event in this story there is so much more in this book. This is a look at Washington, the nation and it's allies and what brought about ultimate victory.

If you like early American history you will love this work.
Charlie Shaw
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written as always from Philbrick. The tale of the siege at Yorktown is further in depth than most historians delve. The story centers around the hesitancy of all French admirals to engage their fleets to aid the colonists. The aid, when it does come, is almost too late and plebian in effort.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I won this book on goodreads. It was an ok book, I was easily distracted. But then I was never much a history buff. I did learn a few things from it. I'm forwarding this on to my friend who is a 7th and 8th history teacher, then I will have her give her rating on the book.
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Book of The Month: In the Hurricane's Eye Discussion 2 14 Oct 03, 2018 11:28AM  
2,777,749 Votes Cast
Philbrick was Brown’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978; that year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI; today he and his wife Melissa sail their Beetle Cat Clio and their Tiffany Jane 34 Marie-J in the waters surrounding Nantucket Island.

After grad school, Philbrick worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during whic
“and the University of Pennsylvania, he penned a memoir of his time in America. Shortly after marrying the twenty-eight-year-old Marie Brigitte Plunkett,” 0 likes
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