TREASON AT WEST POINT: The Arnold-Andre Conspiracy by J. E. Morpurgo

TREASON AT WEST POINT: The Arnold-Andre Conspiracy

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In the fall of 1780 Benedict Arnold covertly met with an aide to British General Sir Henry Clinton and prepared to hand over his West Point command to His Majesty's forces. The treason was discovered, the aide, Major John Andre, captured and executed, while Arnold successfully escaped to British-held New York. Morpurgo's retelling of the infamous defection rests on scant evidence of historical research but appeals nonetheless. His view--and it is not much more than that--is that Andre's place in history has been neglected: he was an all-time dupe of historical circumstances--a victim of Arnold's cunning cum indecisiveness, of Washington's pride and vengeance (the Commander-in-Chief demanded that Andre be hanged), and of the war itself. Not unexpectedly Arnold is the villain of the piece though Morpurgo alludes briefly to his military skill and even posits a semi-defense of his actions. Andre is portrayed as having the same offensive qualities as Arnold but glossed over with a charm and elegance which make him a more sympathetic character. Morpurgo prefaces his narrative with some provocative questions on the nature of treason but never works them into a continuously thematic thread of the story.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1975
Publisher: Mason/Charter