Book Review: Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick

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

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
by Nathaniel Philbrick is a book that’s very much worth a read. It explores why Benedict Arnold committed treason and in doing so explores the personalities of Arnold and George Washington and how they developed during the American Revolution. Arnold’s military accomplishments, political activity, and personal business activities are detailed, showing how the actions of the Continental Congress combined with his personality to bring him to the point of handing West Point and his troops over to the British in a treasonous act. In closing, Philbrick argues that Arnold’s treason had a galvanizing effect, bringing the independent states together behind the Continental Army.

As with all of Philbrick’s books that I’ve read, Valiant Ambition is an excellent read; it’s engaging and compelling. It truly is a book that I found hard to put down. It appears to be well researched; it’s extensively end-noted and it appears that he used a lot of primary source material including correspondence between and from the subjects involved. It was very easy to give this book five stars. As I mentioned in the opening, it’s very much a book worth reading, whether you’re interested in History or not because it explores an important, pivotal event in our nation’s history.

I also think that there’s another worthy reason to read this book. Treason is a term that’s been thrown about freely and loosely over the last couple of years by politicians and candidates for political office. Reading this book would remind us just what a treasonous act is and perhaps lead us not to use the term as a political expedient.

View all my reviews



Categories: Books, History, Military History

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