Ann's Reviews > The Real Benedict Arnold

The Real Benedict Arnold by Jim  Murphy
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's review
Apr 17, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 18th-century, american-history, american-revolution, biography, colonial, espionage, evil-heroes, history, new-york, non-fiction, new-england, tween, young-adult, pennsylvania
Read from March 30 to April 16, 2011

I feel a little guilty for giving this only three stars, because it's not poorly researched or written, and I know that Jim Murphy is a highly respected author of this period. But this book BORED me. I struggled to get through it, and I had to set a goal of reading a chapter a day to push through. It got much more interesting once the actual betrayal was discussed, but I had to get through many, many chapters of military history to get there, and I just can't pretend to care about military strategy. Although I did really enjoy The Killer Angels...hmmm....anyway, I know my disinterest in military history is a personal one, but I also struggled with Murphy's portrayal of Arnold and his very obvious high regard for him. I agree that Arnold had complex reasons for betraying the Revolution, and that he has most likely been judged too harshly by history, but the fact that SO many people deeply disliked Arnold throughout his life had to have been for a reason, and I never felt that was adequately addressed. I felt that Murphy was a little too sympathetic to Arnold and was willing to give him a lot of allowances, so the entire book felt too subjective. I think that Arnold's story could have been written to show how tragic his fall was, while still accounting for why he was so reviled.

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