Monday, August 15, 2016

How Benedict Arnold Became a Traitor

Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick tackles the most notorious act of treason in American history. Philbrick, author of Mayflower and In the Heart of the Sea, turns his focus to the tumultuous period that is also the focus of this blog: the American Revolution. 

In his book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, Philbrick explains that Arnold's treason can only be understood when one studies its context. Other than perhaps Arnold's choice in wives, the same temptations more or less faced other notables in the American Revolution, including the great George Washington. Fortunately for America, Washington withstood such temptations proving himself to be the man of exceptional integrity the nation desperately needed. 

Writing a review of Philbrick's book, John Daniel Davidson explains: 

It’s a wonder that Washington endured such terrible treatment from civilian overseers and managed to keep his army together; a lesser man would have either resigned in disgust or declared himself emperor and taken what his army needed by force. Or he would have done what Arnold did: conclude that the country’s experiment in freedom had failed and that the only way to restore peace and order was to help the British win the war. 

To read the rest of Davidson's review, check out...