Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

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Valiant Ambition is as the author admits “A Story not commonly told” in regards to Benedict Arnold and George Washington. George Washington was in command of the Continental Army overseeing a painful defeat on Long Island in the late Summer of 1776. Benedict Arnold was a Colonel overseeing the successful defence of Fort Ticonderoga. Two men whose paths would meet more than once, each on the same side at the beginning of the war, but divided by loyalties at the end of the war…..Washington a hero despite earlier setbacks, Arnold a one time hero, now traitor to the revolutionary cause. Washington’s early setbacks would be offset by his Christmas Victory in Trenton over the mercenary Hessians at Christmas 1776. Arnold would aid in snatching total victory from the British in Saratoga. Arnold’s upward climb would be marred by jealousy and animosity from higher ups like Horatio Gates, a General in the Continental Army. Arnold would be sidelined by wartime injuries, impatiently waiting for his time on the battlefield and more action and accolades. Washington would suffer through the downtimes at Valley Forge, Brandywine, but strive for any advantage over the British. The eventual betrayal by Arnold would come about by various factors: Marriage to Peggy Shippen, who encouraged his double dealing, a court-martial by overambitious fellow soldiers, monetary concerns….Arnold’s exposure would come about through the capture of a British Captain who was his go-between. Any chance of British victory would soon be over. Arnold wouldn’t be caught, but his mission didn’t succeed.

Valiant Ambition delves into two famous soldiers….One known as the Father of our country, the other, one of the most hated traitors in our nation….whose name is used to describe traitors to this day. Philbrick is fair to both of his subjects acknowledging their good traits and their foibles…Washington was about par for the course as a military leader, Arnold had tremendous courage, but was also possessed of a all encompassing ambition that ultimately ate him up. An excellent read about a period that built our country.

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Reviewed By:

Author Nathaniel Philbrick
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 448 pages
Publisher Viking
Publish Date 2016-05-10
ISBN 9780525426783
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2016
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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