Monday, May 31, 2021

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


For this Memorial Day, I read Valiant Ambition, a nonfiction historical narrative about the Father of Our Country and the nation's most infamous traitor. The book is part two in a trilogy about the American Revolution written by Nathaniel Philbrick, and as you might expect, it's set in the middle part of the war, starting with the Battle of Long Island and ending with the discovery of Arnold's plan to surrender West Point to the British. That act, Philbrick argues, actually helped to unify a fractured country against a common enemy - our own worst instincts.

The book isn't just about Washington's maneuvering and Arnold's betrayal, though.  It also features some of the earliest Americans resting in honored glory: fallen soldiers at Ridgefield, Oriskany, and a hundred other mostly-forgotten battlefields throughout our land.  It's strange to think that Americans are shouting at each other over politics while standing on the same ground that other Americans died on to protect, long before there was even an "America." Perhaps books like Valiant Ambition will focus us on our common enemy once again.


Post a Comment

<< Home