Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the fate of the American Revolution
by Nathaniel Philbrick
This post is the one-hundred and fifteenth entry for this meme suggested by Sheila@ One Persons Journey Through A World of Books. [Entries 22-25 in the series were posted at the Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories]
I’ve had this one on my iPad Mini Kindle App for some time and have read on it from time to time. Lately, I’ve been spending more time on it. It is an interesting contrast to the 'First Entrepreneur' I’m still working on for bedtime reading. Washington story is just a couple of years apart, but seen from very different perspectives. Of course, in this one, George and Benedict are treating their ‘ambition’ in quite different ways… ;-)
Book Description from Amazon:
"Valiant Ambition may be one of the greatest what-if books of the age—a volume that turns one of America’s best-known narratives on its head.”
—Boston Globe [My observation - incorrect to refer to this as a 'what-if' book - not at all!]
"Clear and insightful, it consolidates his reputation as one of America's foremost practitioners of narrative nonfiction."
—Wall Street Journal
From the New York Times bestselling author of In The Heart of the Sea and Mayflower comes a surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution, and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.
In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within.
Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of Washington and Arnold, who is an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.
Dr. Bill ;-)