Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
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A surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold, from the New York Times bestselling author of In The Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, and In the Hurricane's Eye. "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 "Clear and insightful, it consolidates his reputation as one of America's foremost practitioners of narrative nonfiction." —Wall Street Journal 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.
An "account of the complicated middle years of the American Revolution that shares lesser-known insights into the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold."--NoveList.
In Valiant Ambition, Nathaniel Philbrick tells a story of loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship between George Washington and General Benedict Arnold during the American Revolution. This is a complex, controversial piece of history that paints a dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation.
The bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea, Valiant Ambition, and In the Hurricane's Eye tells the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution, in this "masterpiece of narrative and perspective." (Boston Globe) Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists. Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control. With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick | Summary & Analysis Preview: Nathaniel Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution focuses on the treachery of Benedict Arnold as it plays out against the wider panorama of the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold was a courageous officer who was responsible for a number of crucial American victories during the Revolution. His brilliant conduct of the Battle of Valcour Island at Lake Champlain in 1776 delayed British forces and prevented them from reaching the Hudson River valley. Had the British succeeded, they might have separated New England from the rest of the colonies and quickly ended the war. Arnold also managed the American victory at the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, which helped ensure the defeat of British General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga in upstate New York. That battle, in turn, encouraged the French to enter the war, which made the ultimate American victory possible… PLEASE NOTE: This is key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book. Inside this Instaread Summary of Valiant Ambition: · Overview of the Book · Important People · Key Takeaways · Analysis of Key Takeaways About the Author With Instaread, you can get the key takeaways, summary and analysis of a book in 15 minutes. We read every chapter, identify the key takeaways and analyze them for your convenience.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Nathaniel Philbrick is a masterly storyteller. Here he seeks to elevate the naval battles between the French and British to a central place in the history of the American Revolution. He succeeds, marvelously."--The New York Times Book Review The thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War from the New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Valiant Ambition. In the fall of 1780, after five frustrating years of war, George Washington had come to realize that the only way to defeat the British Empire was with the help of the French navy. But as he had learned after two years of trying, coordinating his army's movements with those of a fleet of warships based thousands of miles away was next to impossible. And then, on September 5, 1781, the impossible happened. Recognized today as one of the most important naval engagements in the history of the world, the Battle of the Chesapeake--fought without a single American ship--made the subsequent victory of the Americans at Yorktown a virtual inevitability. In a narrative that moves from Washington's headquarters on the Hudson River, to the wooded hillside in North Carolina where Nathanael Greene fought Lord Cornwallis to a vicious draw, to Lafayette's brilliant series of maneuvers across Tidewater Virginia, Philbrick details the epic and suspenseful year through to its triumphant conclusion. A riveting and wide-ranging story, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, In the Hurricane's Eye reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.
This “brilliant” account of Benedict Arnold’s military campaign to bring Canada into the Revolutionary War is “hard to put down”—includes maps (Mag Web). In 1775, Benedict Arnold led more than one thousand men through the Maine wilderness in order to reach Quebec, the capital of British-held Canada. His goal was to reach the fortress city and bring Canada into the Revolutionary War as the fourteenth colony. When George Washington learned of a route to Quebec that followed a chain of rivers and lakes through the Maine wilderness, he picked Col. Benedict Arnold to command the surprise assault. The route to Canada was 270 miles of rapids, waterfalls, and dense forests that took months to traverse. Arnold led his famished corps through early winter snow and waist-high freezing water, up and over the Appalachian Mountains, and finally, to Quebec. In Benedict Arnold’s Army, award-winning author Arthur S. Lefkowitz traces the troops’ grueling journey, examining Arnold’s character at the time and how this campaign influenced him later in the Revolutionary War. After multiple trips to the route Arnold’s army took, Lefkowitz also includes detailed information and maps for readers to follow the expedition’s route from the coast of Main to Quebec City.
Benedict Arnold stands as one of the most vilified figures in American history. Stories of his treason have so come to define him that his name, like that of Judas, is virtually synonymous with treason. Yet Arnold was one of the most heroic and remarkable men of his time, indeed in all of American history. A brilliant military leader of uncommon bravery, Arnold dedicated himself to the Revolutionary cause, sacrificing family life, health, and financial well-being for a conflict that left him physically crippled, sullied by false accusations, and profoundly alienated from the American cause of liberty. By viewing Arnold's life backward through the prism of his treason, we invariably succumb to the demonizations that arose only after his abandonment of the rebel forces. We thereby overlook his critical role as one of the influential actors in the American Revolution. Distinguished historian James Kirby Martin's landmark biography, the result of a decade's labor, stands as an invaluable antidote to this historical distortion. Careful not to endow the Revolutionary generation with mythical proportions of virtue, Martin shows how self-serving, venal behavior was just as common in the Revolutionary era as in our own time. Arnold, a deeply committed patriot, suffered acutely because of his lack of political savvy in dealing with those who attacked his honor and reputation. Tracing Arnold's life, from his difficult childhood through his grueling winter trek across the howling Maine wilderness, his valiant defense of Lake Champlain, and his crucial role in the Quebec and Saratoga campaigns, Martin has given us an entirely new perspective on this dramatic and exceptional life, set against the tumultuous background of the American Revolution.
Angel in the Whirlwind is the epic tale of the American Revolution, from its roots among tax-weary colonists to the triumphant Declaration of Independence and eventual victory and liberty, recounted by Benson Bobrick, lauded by The New York Times as “perhaps the most interesting historian writing in America today.” Overwhelmed with debt following its victory in the French and Indian Wars, England began imposing harsh new tariffs and taxes on its colonists in the 1760s. Rebellion against these measures soon erupted into war. Bobrick thrillingly describes all the major battles, from Lexington and Concord to the dramatic siege of Yorktown, when the British flag was finally lowered before patriot guns. At the same time he weaves together social and political history along with the military history, bringing to life not only the charismatic leaders of the independence movement, but also their lesser-known compatriots, both patriot and loyalist, English and American, whose voices vividly convey the urgency of war. Illuminated by fresh insight, Angel in the Whirlwind is a dramatic narrative of our nation’s birth, in all its passion and glory.
The famous traitor's first modern biography unearths new evidence explaining why this successful general changed sides, and analyzes his agonized career
*Explains Arnold's achievements for the Americans, his treason, and how he has been remembered. *Includes pictures of Arnold and important people, places, and events in his life. "Neglected by Congress below, distressed with the small-pox; want of Generals and discipline in our Army, which may rather be called a great rabble, our credit and reputation lost, and great part of the country; and a powerful foreign enemy advancing upon us, are so many difficulties we cannot surmount them." - Benedict Arnold On October 7, 1777, Benedict Arnold rode out against orders and led an American assault against British forces led by General John Burgoyne in one of the climactic battles of the Revolution at Saratoga, the ultimate turning point of the war. Near the end of the most important American victory of the Revolution, Arnold's leg was shattered by a volley that also hit his horse, which fell on the leg as well. Arnold would later remark that he wish the shot had hit him in the chest. If it had, Benedict Arnold would be remembered as one of America's greatest war heroes, and probably second only to George Washington among the generals of the Revolution. In fact, when Arnold was injured at the height of his success in October 1777, he had been the most successful leader of American forces during the war. Arnold had been instrumental in the seizure of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, he constructed the first makeshift American navy to defend Lake Champlain and delay British campaigning in 1776, and he was the principal leader at Saratoga in 1777. Even his unsuccessful campaign to Quebec in the winter of 1775 is remembered primarily for the amazing logistical feats undertaken by Arnold and his men to even reach the target. History has accorded Arnold his fair share of credit for the fighting he participated in from 1775-1777. The problem is his contemporaries did not. Arnold was better on the field than any other American general in those years, but his mercurial personality rubbed some the wrong way, and other self-promoting generals, from Ethan Allen to Horatio Gates, credited themselves with success at Arnold's expense. Meanwhile, the Second Continental Congress frequently if inadvertently slighted Arnold, failing to duly promote him in a timely fashion and failing to pay him four years of back pay even as he spent his own private fortune training, equipping, and feeding his army and navy. Historian William Sterne Randall estimates Congress shorted Arnold out of the equivalent of $275,000. Today, of course, all of that has been overshadowed by Arnold's treacherous plot to turn over West Point to the British in 1780. The infamous plot came about while Arnold convalesced as the military governor in Philadelphia, where he met and married the Tory-affiliated Peggy Shippen. Arnold grew more concerned about the patriot cause, and combined with the perceived insults, exposure to Loyalist leanings, and another Congressional rebuke for living extravagantly in Philadelphia, Arnold decided to secretly offer his services to the British. As every American knows, Arnold's plot was uncovered, and he barely escaped to the British side, where he was just as distrusted and nearly as despised. Though he would serve as a brigadier-general for the British through the end of the war, his personal fortune and reputation were permanently tarnished. The man who could have been one of his country's greatest heroes became its most despised traitor. The Patriot Traitor: The Life and Legacy of Benedict Arnold chronicles Arnold's life and military career, but it also humanizes the man and offers an objective look at Arnold's treachery and plot in an effort to separate fact from legend. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events in his life, you will learn about Arnold like you never have before, in no time at all.
A “brilliant and provocative” (The New Yorker) celebration of Melville’s masterpiece—from the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Valiant Ambition One of the greatest American novels finds its perfect contemporary champion in Why Read Moby-Dick?, Nathaniel Philbrick’s enlightening and entertaining tour through Melville’s classic. As he did in his National Book Award–winning bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, Philbrick brings a sailor’s eye and an adventurer’s passion to unfolding the story behind an epic American journey. He skillfully navigates Melville’s world and illuminates the book’s humor and unforgettable characters—finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. An ideal match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? will start conversations, inspire arguments, and make a powerful case that this classic tale waits to be discovered anew. “Gracefully written [with an] infectious enthusiasm…”—New York Times Book Review
A book about a tiny island with a huge history, from the New York Times bestselling author of Valiant Ambition and In the Hurricane's Eye. “For everyone who loves Nantucket Island this is the indispensable book.” —Russell Baker In his first book of history, Nathaniel Philbrick reveals the people and the stories behind what was once the whaling capital of the world. Beyond its charm, quaint local traditions, and whaling yarns, Philbrick explores the origins of Nantucket in this comprehensive history. From the English settlers who thought they were purchasing a “Native American ghost town” but actually found a fully realized society, through the rise and fall of the then thriving whaling industry, the story of Nantucket is a truly unique chapter of American history.
The story of the British intelligence officer whose undercover dealings with Benedict Arnold came very close to winning the Revolutionary War for King George III
"A stunning biography…[A] truly singular account of the American Revolution." —Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire Through an intimate narrative of the life of painter John Singleton Copley, award-winning historian Jane Kamensky reveals the world of the American Revolution, rife with divided loyalties and tangled sympathies. Famed today for his portraits of patriot leaders like Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, Copley is celebrated as one of America’s founding artists. But, married to the daughter of a tea merchant and seeking artistic approval from abroad, he could not sever his own ties with Great Britain. Rather, ambition took him to London just as the war began. His view from abroad as rich and fascinating as his harrowing experiences of patriotism in Boston, Copley’s refusal to choose sides cost him dearly. Yet to this day, his towering artistic legacy remains shared by America and Britain alike.
Playing Tough is an entertaining and thoroughly enlightening look at the unique and surprisingly outsized role that sports have played in politics and history. Ever since the bread and circuses of Rome, sports have been used as a tool to entertain the masses and to instill civic pride. Abrams shows both the positive and the negative ways in which sports and politics have coalesced, from the rabid nationalism of the 1936 Nazi Olympics, the political grudge match of the Louis and Schmeling fights, and the "futbol war" between Honduras and Costa Rica to the inspiring stories of South Africa's rugby nation-building and Muhammad Ali's brave antiwar stance, which nearly cost him his career. Abrams is an informed and impassioned writer who chronicles the profoundly creative and destructive influence that sports have on the political life of our nation and the world. This book will be of interest to any and all sports and politics enthusiasts and is a wonderful introduction for course creation and adoption.
Recounts the story of the 1820 wreck of the whaleship Essex—which inspired Melville's classic Moby Dick—and its doomed crew's 90-day attempt to survive whale attacks and the elements on three tiny lifeboats, in a book that is the basis of the forthcoming film directed by Ron Howard. Reissue.
An epic story of one man’s devotion to the American cause In October 1776, four years before Benedict Arnold’s treasonous attempt to hand control of the Hudson River to the British, his patch-work fleet on Lake Champlain was all that stood between British forces and a swift end to the American rebellion. Benedict Arnold’s Navy is the dramatic chronicle of that desperate battle and of the extraordinary events that occurred on the American Revolution’s critical northern front. Written with captivating narrative vitality, this landmark book shows how Benedict Arnold’s fearless leadership against staggering odds in a northern wilderness secured for America the independence that he would later try to betray. Praise for James L. Nelson: "James Nelson is a master both of his period and of the English language." --Patrick O'Brian, author of Master and Commander "James L. Nelson tells this story with clarity and literary skill and with such ease and order that the reader feels he is attending a dissertation on history given by a consummate lecturer." --Ron Berthel, Associated Press, on Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads, winner of the American Library Association’s 2004 Award for Best Military History "It is, by far, the best Civil War novel I’ve read; reeking of battle, duty, heroism and tragedy. It’s a triumph of imagination and good, taut writing . . . " --Bernard Cornwell on Glory in the Name, winner of the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award
Four Faces of Femininity tells the story of remarkable women who, through their creativity, passion, intelligence, and sheer determination, have left an indelible mark on the history of humankind. The book is divided into four sections, with figures placed in Mother, Lover, Warrior, or Sage. Accessible, informative, and uplifting, Four Faces of Femininity explores the many ways in which women have changed the course of history—and demonstrates how crucial it is that women from every background be provided with role models that inspire. The book includes questions for exploration to help modern multifaceted women see these qualities in themselves and balance them to lead a fuller life.