In the Hurricane's Eye

The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (578 ratings)

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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 Mayflower.

In the concluding volume of his acclaimed American Revolution series, Nathaniel Philbrick tells the thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War.

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

"A tension-filled and riveting account of the alliance that assured American independence.... Philbrick is a master of narrative, and he does not disappoint as he provides a meticulous and often hair-raising account of a naval war between France and England." (The Washington Post

"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)

"[Philbrick], an accomplished popular historian...excels when writing about sailors and the ocean. He vividly renders the interplay of skill and chaos in naval combat by massive fleets, as well as the fury of hurricanes.... In the Hurricane’s Eye delivers on the author’s promise to 'put the sea where it properly belongs: at the center of the story.'" (Wall Street Journal)

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

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

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.

4 people found this 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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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    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 people found this 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 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Excellent.

The only complaint I have is that it ended too soon...which for a good book is a compliment.

Mr. Philbrick covered the subject surrounding Yorktown while bringing out details about the players and events which most have not. So I learned a great deal. The book left me with a desire to learn more about the people involved...I have already bought biographies on Greene, Knox and Cornwallis, and look forward to others. Leaving readers with a yearning to learn more is a mark of a good history book.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this 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 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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Usual Philbrick Stuff

I like books like these which can be described as a succession of stories. The Battle of Yorktown was really a culmination of unlikely events that gave America its independence. This book spends more time on the sea battles between France and England than on other parts to show that the battles at sea were the pivotal pieces of end of the war. The aftermath is also described in detail and shows how fragile the Union was and that the Civil War really started at Yorktown. I give this “only” four stars because it was very good, but not outstanding. It just seemed a little light to me, but well worth the read.