Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE REAL BENEDICT ARNOLD by Jim Murphy

THE REAL BENEDICT ARNOLD

By Jim Murphy

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-395-77609-4
Publisher: Clarion

The name Benedict Arnold has become synonymous with the word “traitor,” but the real Benedict Arnold is a more complicated entity. Since Arnold wrote no personal history or diary, and his wife burned his letters, much of this volume relies on “what ifs,” “must haves,” “seems to be” and “there’s no telling.” Murphy starts with Arnold’s birth and works forward, but for young readers who may know little about Arnold, starting with the exciting scenes first—the British invasion from Canada, the Battle of Saratoga and Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British—would better hook readers. They would then be more willing to follow the examination of Arnold’s early life for clues as to what would make a war hero turn traitor. The volume is attractively designed, with numerous reproductions of paintings, engravings and drawings sprinkled throughout, though even more would be welcome to break up long, dense sections of text. As always, Murphy’s prose is clear and detailed, and his source notes are interesting. An important addition to collections on the American Revolution. (index) (Nonfiction. 10+)