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Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  177 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
In the first major biography of Benedict Arnold in 35 years, prize-winning journalist and historian Willard Sterne Randall unravels the web of personal drama and political intrigue that led to the most famous betrayal in American history. Citing documents long believed lost, Randall explores the full story of Arnold's brilliant but agonized career as patriot and soldier an ...more
Paperback, 615 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Quill
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Steve Van Slyke
Jan 30, 2010 Steve Van Slyke rated it really liked it
Arnold was one of the most aggressive officers in the Continental Army. Ready to go to battle at the drop of a hat. He took Fort Ticonderoga very early in the war, captured a British warship and re-named it the Enterprise, won the Battle of Saratoga (although Gates took credit for it) and was badly injured. In return, his country failed to pay him his salary for four years of service, refused to reimburse him for expenses that he covered out of his own pocket, promoted more junior officers over ...more
David Eppenstein
This is a book that opened my eyes to the life of an amazing character in our history. All any of us know about Benedict Arnold is that he was a traitor to our country. After reading this book I, as a criminal lawyer, would have loved to defend him from this charge. Arnold was our American tragic hero who rose to the top only to be pulled down by the treachery of politics and the weakness of conviction. The details of Arnold's life should be read and studied by every American as there is so much ...more
Dave Goldberg
Jan 27, 2008 Dave Goldberg rated it really liked it
Randall writes a comprehensive account of the most famous American traitor's life. The writing is good, though the depth of details Randall provides can slow things down at times. Learning of all of Arnold's contributions to the American cause also makes this a difficult read because at some point you know you have to prepare for a terrible let down. However, Randall also shows us that the treachery that comes later in Arnold's life, does have some justification, as he was a victim of some prett ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Ed rated it liked it
Good 18th Century American history but bogged down with the politics of the various colonies working counter productively in the early days of the revolution where Benedict Arnold played a key role in securing Lake Champlain, the colonies northern flank against a British attack from Canada. Communications being what they were in the late 1700's, it's a wonder the American Revolution succeeded.
Kevin Kelley
Jul 22, 2009 Kevin Kelley rated it it was amazing
Incredible book written by one of the best. Randall's use of primary sources does not detract from the flow. Cover to cover one of the best books I've read on the American Revolution.
Aug 30, 2016 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last sentence! What the hell!?

I don't....

Alright, calm down. In all my historical studies, Benedict Arnold was simply put as the consummate traitor. And, for some reason, I didn't question that. I can't totally blame him anymore.

The book was beautifully researched and very readable. Fully two thirds are about Benedict being an amazing patriot and the last bit showing how he KEPT getting screwed over. I'm not gonna call the man innocent, but there was a lotta bad going on here.

Read-wise: It took
Dec 30, 2013 Joshua rated it really liked it
The name of Benedict Arnold is most commonly associated with infamy. He is one of America's most villainous traitors and even calling someone by his name is considered to be insult over 200 years later. School children are taught about the treacherous actions of Benedict so that it seems that he is a one dimensional character who is almost non-human. It turns out that the story of Arnold is more complicated than the history channel or high school text books let on; before he was engaged in perfi ...more
Chris Hinds
Jan 20, 2016 Chris Hinds rated it liked it
I hope to finish this book, but I am increasingly distracted by very, very poor editing. Numerous misplaced commas and other punctuation errors on every page make some sentences almost incomprehensible. However I am enjoying insight into aspects of the American Revolution that are new to me, plus Arnold is a very interesting personality.
Feb 16, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
This book is well researched and has a lot of interesting details but unfortunately they are sometimes buried in just too much extraneous information. I'm glad I read this but I would have preferred a more edited version as it was a bit of a slog.
Oct 04, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Randall presented Arnold as a three-dimensional, complex, human, character. He helped me see how often and how thoroughly we deceive ourselves and each other when we try to divide the world into heroes and villains.
Roger Taylor
Jul 22, 2016 Roger Taylor rated it really liked it
An interesting but very long biography of a little understood individual in history. While the author at times seems to be biased in Benedict Arnold's favour, for the most part, he presents a reasonably objective view of his strengths and accomplishments, especially in the early years of the Revolutionary war, in the Northern campaign and in his weaknesses and many failures including his treason and his inability to find a place after he had changed sides and embraced the British cause. The auth ...more
Jun 15, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it
Shelves: rev-war
The definitive biography of " The Dark Eagle" A brilliant piece of literature on America's most infamous traitor.This was an all inclusive,if not exhaustive,history of his life and times.A very brilliant military man who was unfullfilled when he was forced to the sidelines for any amount of time.Being a very patriotic man myself,there is never a reason to turn traitor on your country,but with all the hardships,bitter feuds and sullying of his reputation while an American General,I can certainly ...more
Alexander Scipio
Feb 11, 2013 Alexander Scipio rated it liked it
An ok overview of Arnold but less scholarly than hoped. Although I try to focus on content, I have to say this: either the tool used to convert it to an ebook (I read the kindle version) is atrocious in inserting punctuation, or the editor was an ESL student. But misplaced periods, sentences you had to figure out really were one & not two, bad comma usage and capitalization really got in the way of the book. Very frustrating at times. Leads one to wonder - if the presentation is this poor ho ...more
Andrew Scholes
Apr 25, 2015 Andrew Scholes rated it really liked it
It was interesting to me that so many people disliked Benedict Arnold long before he was a traitor. He, and others, could try to justify his actions by saying he simply wanted to keep both countries out of a war that would damage them. Arnold was always interested in what was in it for him. That is his history.
Elmer Romero
May 11, 2016 Elmer Romero rated it really liked it
I found it interesting how ambitious and interested in money he seemed (at least as portrayed by this author). But his constant passing up for promotion contributed immensely with his defection. But how tragic it is that not only was he never accepted as a British subject but he was eventually mistakenly buried in a misnamed grave. Alas, he is only remembered as a traitor.
Tad Richards
Feb 18, 2013 Tad Richards rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most fascinating characters in American history, and Randall does him justice. Reading it, knowing the ending, one is amazed by how many times, and in how many ways, the story could have ended differently.x
May 24, 2013 Tori rated it really liked it
At times I thought, "Of course he defected to the Brits," after reading about the things that happened, and then after he joined the Brits, I couldn't help think, "Of course it all went sour."
Gave up on this one. WAAAAAAAY too much detail. Do we have to hear day by day reports of every single thing that happened in Canada? Just couldn't wade through it any longer.
Susan Weber
Good Read. I have a much better understanding of the early battles and the infighting among military leaders. It was a long book, but kept my interest.
Vinny Minchillo
Jan 14, 2014 Vinny Minchillo rated it liked it
Terrific story about a character we all don't know enough about. If you're an American History buff, check this one out.
Harry Miktarian
Jan 09, 2008 Harry Miktarian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Could have been the greatest American hero outside of G. Washington...but took a tragic and traitorous turn.
Aug 21, 2013 Matt rated it it was ok
Could have been written in half the pages, but provided a perspective on Arnold I had not heard before
Mar 22, 2013 Gerry rated it really liked it
A life more complex then High School history books led me to believe
Amy Sawyer
Apr 04, 2016 Amy Sawyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed and informative.
John Larrere
Oct 26, 2013 John Larrere is currently reading it
I could not finish it. Too sad!
Cole marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2016
Kathy Coleman
Kathy Coleman rated it liked it
Sep 21, 2016
Theenormityofitall rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2016
Rebecca Hill
Rebecca Hill marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2016
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Willard Sterne Randall is an American historian and author who specializes in biographies related to the American colonial period and the American Revolution. He teaches American history at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.
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