Hero and Traitor: Book Review of “Valient Ambition” by N. Philbrick

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American RevolutionValiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book certainly changed my ideas and understanding of Benedict Arnold. Obviously he was a very complex man who ended up being placed in exactly the right kinds of positions for his audacity and cleverness for military battles and exactly the wrong positions when it came to his poor interpersonal relationships and greed for a life style for which he probably wasn’t fit. The author’s descriptions of the battles involving General Washington also give me a much different picture over-all of the man who I only knew from the legends of chopping down the cherry tree and crossing the Delaware River. In the final analysis, I do believe that Arnold was definitely a traitor and that the continental congress and the commanding persons over Arnold himself were complicit in sending him in that direction by not simply putting him back out onto the front lines and then giving him recognition for his talents. As we see even in modern times, one man’s cup of tea is another man’s dregs. The book is well written and very thorough is covering the life of a man whose place in history ought to be used as an example for more than just the fact that he betrayed his country.

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