cover image Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor

Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor

Willard Sterne Randall / Author William Morrow & Company $27.9

The most notorious traitor in American history, Benedict Arnold is little remembered for his impressive military accomplishments, which are recalled in this richly detailed biography. In 1776 he stemmed the British thrust from Canada in the naval battle of Lake Champlain and a year later reversed the course of the war with the great land victory at Saratoga. The main focus of this noteworthy book, however, is the general's complex character and his reasons for offering his services to the British in 1779. Randall ( A Little Revenge ) portrays his increasing bitterness over being court-martialed for malfeasance, as well as for not being promoted although four generals beneath him were. The author, who considers that Arnold was ill-treated by the country, uncovers new material about Peggy Shippen Arnold's important role in helping her husband plan and carry out his betrayal, about the American attempt to capture him in New York after his defection, and about his bitter postwar struggle to clear his name. Illustrated. BOMC and History Book Club alternates. (Aug.)