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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller.

"Nathaniel Philbrick is a masterly storyteller. Here he seeks to elevate the naval battles between the French and British to a central place in the history of the American Revolution. He succeeds, marvelously." (The New York Times Book Review)

The thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War from the New York Times best-selling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Valiant Ambition.

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.

©2018 Nathaniel Philbrick (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Nathaniel Philbrick is a masterly storyteller. Here he seeks to elevate the naval battles between the French and British to a central place in the history of the American Revolution. He succeeds, marvelously. He can relate in a word or two what others might take a chapter to expound...As a writer, I’m envious of Philbrick’s talents, but as a reader, I’m grateful." (The New York Times Book Review)

"A tense, richly detailed narrative of the American Revolution...Philbrick reprises the protagonists of his last history of the War of Independence in a meticulously researched recounting of the events leading up to the colonists' victory at the Battle of Yorktown...Philbrick, a sailor himself, recounts the strategic maneuvering involved in the many naval encounters: ships' positions, wind direction and strength, and the "disorienting cloud of fire and smoke" that often imperiled the fleet." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Readers of Revolutionary War history will be enrapt by the blow-by-blow detail of this lively narrative, which is supported by countless letters and journal entries from key participants." (Library Journal)

"Another insightful and accessible account…This thought-provoking history will deepen readers’ understanding of how the U.S. achieved its independence.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Even-handed, yet dramatic!

Nathaniel Philbrick gives a fresh view of George Washington. It feels more real than many other accounts of the great man. Weather patterns in the war's final years were often keys to outcomes, same as in the early war years, only on an immense scale, namely, the many hurricanes that destroyed excellent naval fleets.

I think Philbrick selected the best facts to liven up the story and avoid getting bogged down at any point. I liked Scott Brick's pacing, pronunciation and tone. If there's one thing I'd like to change, it's how the story speeds up after the siege of Yorktown. This part of the story interested me; I wanted to go deeper into this short and momentous period.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Listens like a novel

This was one of the best performed history books I have ever heard. The author and reader get you into the story behind the characters of the Revolutionary War. The only difficulty is that there are a lot of names and sometimes leads to confusion, if you forget.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding History

Nathaniel Philbrick concludes his masterful trilogy on Washington and the American Revolution with this stirring story of catching Cornwallis at Yorktown. He provides the in-depth description of our "French allies" and their almost reluctant help in defeating the British. Philbrick gives so much more than we learned in our history books. Outstanding story telling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Worth the time

A good ending to the Philbrick trilogy and was definitely worth the wait. Not quite the same level of detail as in previous books, but more than enough to tell the story and to truly put the events of the “Sea” in there proper place. If you truly want to know how much help America required to even begin, this is the book you need to and must read!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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The Full Story of the Siege of Yorktown

Finally, the COMPLETE story behind the miracle of the Siege of Yorktown is told! It was as much a story of sea power as it was of armies. Had been looking for such a book for a long time. I now have an even greater respect of George Washington as a leader who saw the whole of a battle - the land and the sea - and was able to finally get the pieces to fit, including his own evolution.

Mr. Philbrick starts the story with the British and French navies and ends it the same way, with the Battle of the Saintes. Along the way, he writes about the Battle of Cape Henry, the Battle of the Capes and, course the Siege of Yorktown, as well as the end of the American Revolution. It is richly told and, from all appearances, well sourced. In particular, the author's follow-up at the end of the main characters of the story is extremely interesting. It is a reminder that this story took place in a complicated and dynamic world.

In the audible version, missed the maps – which are crucial to any historical understanding – but found an outstanding set by Mr. Rick Britton on the MountVernon.org website.

This is a book I will be listening to several times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Things to be thankful for

Just finished reading “In the Hurricane’s Eye: the Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown. “Nathaniel Philbrick is an excellent writer who to my amazement showed how much we owe winning our Revolution to the French soldiers, supplies and particularly warships.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

As always another outstanding book you can't put down, always excited seeing Nathaniel Philbrick bringing out another novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great

I loved the book the author definitely painted a beautiful for you leading up to the battle and results.

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Textbook

This book concentrates on what the generals and admirals were doing. There is very little from the soldiers' or sailors' perspective. Therefore, it reminded me of a textbook on history, which was rather dry and boring. The reader was very good, however.

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  • AJC
  • NJ--United States
  • 01-19-19

The Backstory of the American Revolution's Great Victory

Nathaniel Philbrick writes great history. I came away with a better knowledge of events leading up to the victory at Yorktown and the major players, some not known to the average American that assured that victory and America's independence from Great Britain.

The narrator was clear, if at times a bit melodramatic. Though Scott Brick was very listenable.

This audible presentation is the way to study this part of our history.