Valiant Ambition

Valiant Ambition

George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

Book - 2016
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From the acclaimed author of Mayflower, In the Heart of the Sea, and Bunker Hill comes an engrossing new book about the American Revolution. Its focus: the relationship between Benedict Arnold and George Washington, and the four years that led to the notorious fall of one and the gradual emergence of the other as a true leader. In the summer of 1776, Washington's army in Brooklyn and New York City faced one of the largest invading forces ever assembled by the British Empire. After suffering a series of devastating defeats, Washington's vulnerable and dejected troops were forced to evacuate the southern tip of Manhattan Island. Three weeks later, however, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite and most talented generals accomplished a tactical miracle by stalling the British advance in a viciously fought naval battle on Lake Champlain. An American defeat would have effectively ended the war, and it was Benedict Arnold who saved his young country from ruin. Nathaniel Philbrick brings his mastery of narrative to a tumultuous time in the Revolution. Moving beyond the storied victories at Trenton and Princeton and the ordeal of the Continental army at Valley Forge, he shows how the injuries Arnold suffered at the Battle of Saratoga set Washington's greatest fighting general on the road to treason. Arnold was an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians undermined his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. By 1780, he had fled to the enemy after his failed attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. During the same period, Washington came to embrace the full scope of leadership. The book tracks the messy collision of military and political goals and shows how the deep divisions among the American people posed a greater threat to their cause than the British army. In a new country wary of tyrants, Washington's unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enabled him to recognize the war that really mattered. In his treason, Arnold may actually have saved America. Valiant Ambition crackles with urgency and human drama fueled by issues of loyalty and integrity. By intertwining the stories of Washington and Arnold, Philbrick has crafted a Shakespearean tragedy revealing the dark path America traveled during its revolution. This is a portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. -- Inside jacket flaps.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, 2016
ISBN: 9780525426783
0525426787
Branch Call Number: 973.3 Ph
Characteristics: xix, 427 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits, black and white ; 24 cm

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rpavlacic
Aug 15, 2016

So what made America's greatest military man flip to the British? Two battlefield injuries that went unrecognized, being passed over for promotion within the ranks several times, and wrongful accusations of malfeasance while serving as Mayor of Philadelphia. Perhaps it was greed, or perhaps he just reached the breaking point. Either way, the unsuccessful surrender of West Point to the British was the turning point of the American Revolution. Philbrick gives a great background as to how it all happened.

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Hopalong_Kid
Jun 29, 2016

Great story to bring the history of the American Revolution into context, warts and all. the book confirms why Washington is such a great man.

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