A surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold, from the New York Times bestselling author of In The Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, and In the Hurricane's Eye. "May be one of the greatest what-if books of the age—a volume that turns one of America’s best-known narratives on its head.” —Boston Globe "Clear and insightful, it consolidates his reputation as one of America's foremost practitioners of narrative nonfiction." —Wall Street Journal In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within. Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of Washington and Arnold, who is an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.
An "account of the complicated middle years of the American Revolution that shares lesser-known insights into the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold."--NoveList.
In Valiant Ambition, Nathaniel Philbrick tells a story of loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship between George Washington and General Benedict Arnold during the American Revolution. This is a complex, controversial piece of history that paints a dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation.
The bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea, Valiant Ambition, and In the Hurricane's Eye tells the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution, in this "masterpiece of narrative and perspective." (Boston Globe) Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists. Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control. With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Nathaniel Philbrick is a masterly storyteller. Here he seeks to elevate the naval battles between the French and British to a central place in the history of the American Revolution. He succeeds, marvelously."--The New York Times Book Review The thrilling story of the year that won the Revolutionary War from the New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Valiant Ambition. In the fall of 1780, after five frustrating years of war, George Washington had come to realize that the only way to defeat the British Empire was with the help of the French navy. But as he had learned after two years of trying, coordinating his army's movements with those of a fleet of warships based thousands of miles away was next to impossible. And then, on September 5, 1781, the impossible happened. Recognized today as one of the most important naval engagements in the history of the world, the Battle of the Chesapeake--fought without a single American ship--made the subsequent victory of the Americans at Yorktown a virtual inevitability. In a narrative that moves from Washington's headquarters on the Hudson River, to the wooded hillside in North Carolina where Nathanael Greene fought Lord Cornwallis to a vicious draw, to Lafayette's brilliant series of maneuvers across Tidewater Virginia, Philbrick details the epic and suspenseful year through to its triumphant conclusion. A riveting and wide-ranging story, full of dramatic, unexpected turns, In the Hurricane's Eye reveals that the fate of the American Revolution depended, in the end, on Washington and the sea.
Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick | Summary & Analysis Preview: Nathaniel Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution focuses on the treachery of Benedict Arnold as it plays out against the wider panorama of the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold was a courageous officer who was responsible for a number of crucial American victories during the Revolution. His brilliant conduct of the Battle of Valcour Island at Lake Champlain in 1776 delayed British forces and prevented them from reaching the Hudson River valley. Had the British succeeded, they might have separated New England from the rest of the colonies and quickly ended the war. Arnold also managed the American victory at the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, which helped ensure the defeat of British General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga in upstate New York. That battle, in turn, encouraged the French to enter the war, which made the ultimate American victory possible… PLEASE NOTE: This is key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book. Inside this Instaread Summary of Valiant Ambition: · Overview of the Book · Important People · Key Takeaways · Analysis of Key Takeaways About the Author With Instaread, you can get the key takeaways, summary and analysis of a book in 15 minutes. We read every chapter, identify the key takeaways and analyze them for your convenience.
Benedict Arnold stands as one of the most vilified figures in American history. Stories of his treason have so come to define him that his name, like that of Judas, is virtually synonymous with treason. Yet Arnold was one of the most heroic and remarkable men of his time, indeed in all of American history. A brilliant military leader of uncommon bravery, Arnold dedicated himself to the Revolutionary cause, sacrificing family life, health, and financial well-being for a conflict that left him physically crippled, sullied by false accusations, and profoundly alienated from the American cause of liberty. By viewing Arnold's life backward through the prism of his treason, we invariably succumb to the demonizations that arose only after his abandonment of the rebel forces. We thereby overlook his critical role as one of the influential actors in the American Revolution. Distinguished historian James Kirby Martin's landmark biography, the result of a decade's labor, stands as an invaluable antidote to this historical distortion. Careful not to endow the Revolutionary generation with mythical proportions of virtue, Martin shows how self-serving, venal behavior was just as common in the Revolutionary era as in our own time. Arnold, a deeply committed patriot, suffered acutely because of his lack of political savvy in dealing with those who attacked his honor and reputation. Tracing Arnold's life, from his difficult childhood through his grueling winter trek across the howling Maine wilderness, his valiant defense of Lake Champlain, and his crucial role in the Quebec and Saratoga campaigns, Martin has given us an entirely new perspective on this dramatic and exceptional life, set against the tumultuous background of the American Revolution.
The famous traitor's first modern biography unearths new evidence explaining why this successful general changed sides, and analyzes his agonized career
A book about a tiny island with a huge history, from the New York Times bestselling author of Valiant Ambition and In the Hurricane's Eye. “For everyone who loves Nantucket Island this is the indispensable book.” —Russell Baker In his first book of history, Nathaniel Philbrick reveals the people and the stories behind what was once the whaling capital of the world. Beyond its charm, quaint local traditions, and whaling yarns, Philbrick explores the origins of Nantucket in this comprehensive history. From the English settlers who thought they were purchasing a “Native American ghost town” but actually found a fully realized society, through the rise and fall of the then thriving whaling industry, the story of Nantucket is a truly unique chapter of American history.