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Best-Selling Author Nathaniel Philbrick to Speak at Bronxville Historical Conservancy Event

Nathaniel Philbrick. Photo credit: Contributed
Nathaniel Philbrick. Photo credit: Contributed
From the Bronxville Historical Conservancy:

The Bronxville Historical Conservancy will host its 15th Annual Brendan Gill Community Lecture on Friday, March 7, at 8:00 pm in the Sommer Center on the campus of Concordia College, Bronxville, NY.

The guest speaker will be Nathaniel Philbrick, New York Times best-selling author who has won numerous awards for his historic tales of America and the sea. His book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, which detailed the true story of a tragic 1819 voyage that served as inspiration for Herman Melville’s epic tale, won the National Book Award in 2000. His book Mayflower: A Story of Community, Courage and War, was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History.

Philbrick’s most recent book, Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution, chronicles the cradle of American Revolution, Boston’s action-packed years of 1771-1776. Reviewers have called Bunker Hill “popular history at its best,” and a book “that resonates with leadership lessons for all times,” dubbing Philbrick an author with a “fine sense of the ambitions that drive people in war and politics.”

Philbrick grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was Brown University’s first intercollegiate All-American sailor. He received an MA in American Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. After working as an editor at Sailing World magazine, he wrote and edited several books about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor, Second  Wind, and Yaahting: A Parody.

In 1986, Philbrick moved to Nantucket with his wife Melissa, an attorney, and their two children. In 1994, he published his first book about the island’s history, Away Off Shore. He is the founding director of Nantucket’s Egan Maritime Institute and a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association.

Philbrick is a meticulous researcher known for his ability to pull out fascinating bits of history that make his popular nonfiction narratives come alive for today’s readers. Philbrick asserts that he “loves to write about communities under enormous stress,” and he manages to include a sea story in all his books, even The Last Stand, a narrative that gives credit to widow Libbie Custer (later one of Bronxville’s more famous inhabitants) for turning her husband’s foolhardy expedition into the heroic “last stand” which has gone down in history.

Philbrick’s writing has also appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, Dateline, C-SPAN, and NPR. His book The Last Stand was the basis for the two-hour PBS American Experience film “Custer’s Last Stand” by Stephen Ives.

Previous Brendan Gill lecturers have included architecture critic Paul Goldberger; author George Plimpton; environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr.; preservationist Richard Jenrette; museum director Robert Macdonald; biographer Walter Isaacson; author and Civil War expert James McPherson; historian David Halberstam; author Russell Shorto; biographer Robert Caro; JFK’s legendary speechwriter, Theodore Sorenson; noted Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer; journalist and author Cokie Roberts; historian Kenneth Jackson; and Jefferson biographer Jon Meacham.

The lecture is free to the public. To confirm attendance and the number in your party, please RSVP by calling 914-395-1052 or email gill@b-h-c.org.

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