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The Notorious Benedict Arnold

A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Bravery

Sheinkin, Steve

(Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Notorious Benedict Arnold
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An introduction to the life of Benedict Arnold that highlights not only the traitorous actions that made him legendary, but also his heroic involvement in the American Revolution.
Publisher: New York : Roaring Brook Press, c2010
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9781596434868
1596434864
9781250024602
1250024609
Branch Call Number: B ARNOLD S
Characteristics: 337 p. : port., maps ; 22 cm

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If Benedict Arnold had died at the Battle of Saratoga, he would have been a great American hero, celebrated for his role in winning the American Revolution. Instead, he survived—to die in shame and poverty, reviled as a traitor.

Apr 30, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Aside from his name and the simple fact that he was an important traitor during the Revolutionary War, I really didn't know all that much about Benedict Arnold before reading this book. It turns out he's a fascinating figure. And I don't mean "fascinating" in an academic sense; he has a great, entertaining story.
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And author Sheinkin does a great job of telling that story (I waffled between 4 and 5 stars). There is excellent drama, tension, pacing, and plotting. Yet this is no fictionalized or even dramatized account, because Sheinkin is also very journalistic and doesn't resort to conjecture to fill in blank spots. There aren't quite full dialogue exchanges, but there are lots of quotes from letters and other primary source documents that fill that role nicely, personalizing the events and revealing the thoughts and emotions behind the reported actions. This is extensively researched.
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If he hadn't been so concerned with restoring his family name and living a life of privilege, Benedict Arnold most likely would have gone down in history as one of the great American heroes. He was a brash, adventurous, independent, hot-tempered man of action who accomplished some of the war's great feats before becoming alienated and disillusioned; and it was those same traits that made him such a daredevil on the battlefield that also caused his downfall, his confrontational, unrestrained manner that annoyed and angered the many who shared widely their negative opinions of him. George Washington felt there was no one more qualified on the battlefield, yet the political necessity of uniting the new country often prevented him from capitalizing on Arnold's talents, as he was too divisive a figure. Starting with his youthful stunts like walking the peaked roof a burning barn and throwing a lit match into a gunpowder-filled cannon, his exploits, adventures, and tragic downfall make for a highly absorbing tale.
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Anyone looking for a good adventure novel ought to consider this along with the more typical fiction options.

Feb 07, 2011
  • dblockniles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Great war adventure!

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Apr 30, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Benedict Arnold never could stand inaction. So he decided to invade Canada. . . .

The fact that no one had told Arnold to lead the first foreign invasion in American history meant nothing to him. It was the right strategic move, and he made it.

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app09 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52