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The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

Автором Steve Sheinkin

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The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

Автором Steve Sheinkin

4/5 (20 оценки)
286 pages
4 hours
Nov 9, 2010


New York Times bestselling author, Newbery Honor recipient, and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin presents both the heroism and the treachery of one of the Revolutionary War's most infamous players in his biography of Benedict Arnold.

Winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction
Winner of the YALSA-ALA Award for Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction

Most people know that Benedict Arnold was America's first, most notorious traitor. Few know that he was also one of its greatest Revolutionary War heroes.

Steve Sheinkin's accessible biography, The Notorious Benedict Arnold, introduces young readers to the real Arnold: reckless, heroic, and driven. Packed with first-person accounts, astonishing American Revolution battle scenes, and surprising twists, this is a gripping and true adventure tale from history.

“Sheinkin sees Arnold as America's ‘original action hero' and succeeds in writing a brilliant, fast-paced biography that reads like an adventure novel...The author's obvious mastery of his material, lively prose and abundant use of eyewitness accounts make this one of the most exciting biographies young readers will find.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Several complex political, social, and military themes emerge, one of the most prominent being that within the Continental army, often simplistically depicted as single-minded patriots, beat hearts scheming with political machinations that are completely familiar today...Arnold's inexorable clash with Gates and his decision to turn traitor both chill and compel.” —Horn Book Magazine (starred review)

Also by Steve Sheinkin:

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
Which Way to the Wild West?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About Westward Expansion
King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution
Two Miserable Presidents: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the Civil War
Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America

Nov 9, 2010

Об авторе

Steve Sheinkin is the writer and illustrator of The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West, for which he won Moment Magazine's Emerging Writer Award in children's literature; Rabbi Harvey Rides Again: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Folktales Let Loose in the Wild West and Rabbi Harvey vs. the Wisdom Kid: A Graphic Novel of Dueling Jewish Folktales in the Wild West. Steve Sheinkin is available to speak on the following topics: Drawing Comics Graphic Novels Jewish Folktales Jewish Wisdom

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The Notorious Benedict Arnold - Steve Sheinkin


Clearing in the Woods

October 2, 1780

It was a beautiful place to die. The sky above the woods glowed blue, and the leaves on the trees were a riot of fall colors: sunshine yellow, campfire orange, blood red.

In a grassy clearing, a small group of American soldiers quickly built a gallows. It was a simple structure, made of two tall, forked logs stuck into the ground, with a third log laid horizontally between the forks. The soldiers tied one end of a rope to the middle of the horizontal log, letting the other end hang down. There was no platform to stand on, no trapdoor to fall through—the prisoner would have to climb onto a wagon with the rope looped around his throat. Horses would jerk the wagon forward, and he would tumble off the back. The force of his falling weight should be enough to snap a man’s neck.

As the soldiers worked, a crowd began to gather. Officers rode up and sat still on their horses. Soldiers and citizens from nearby towns gradually filled the clearing. By late afternoon, hundreds of people surrounded the gallows, and thousands lined the road leading to it. It was a somber crowd. People spoke in whispers, if at all.

Shortly before five o’clock, a wagon carrying a plain, pine coffin rattled along the road and into the clearing. The driver stopped his horses just beyond the gallows, with the wagon lined up under the dangling rope. The ghoulish figure of a hangman appeared, his face sloppily smeared with black axle grease to disguise his identity. He stood by the wagon and waited.

A few minutes after five, the distant sounds of a fife and drum band reached the clearing. The music grew louder, and the crowd recognized the tune—a funeral march. Soon the players came into view, stepping slowly and heavily in time with the music.

Behind the band marched the prisoner. He wore a spotless officer’s uniform, his long hair pulled back and tied neatly behind his neck. When he reached the clearing he saw the gallows and stopped. The color drained from his skin. He swallowed, making a visibly painful effort to force the saliva down his throat. Then he began marching again, walking steadily toward his death.

But this is the end of the story. The story begins thirty-nine years earlier and 125 miles to the east, in the busy port town of Norwich, Connecticut. The story begins with Benedict Arnold.

Benedict Arnold

January 14, 1741

He was the sixth Benedict Arnold.

The first Benedict Arnold sailed from England to America in the early 1600s. He settled with his family in Newport, Rhode Island, became a wealthy landowner, and was elected governor of Rhode Island ten times—still a record. His son, the second Benedict Arnold, mismanaged the family’s estate and lost most of the money, though he did serve several terms in the colony’s House of Deputies. The third Benedict Arnold was not elected to anything, as far as we know. He inherited just enough land for a modest farm, farmed badly, apprenticed his son to a barrel maker, and died poor.

Determined to turn the family fortunes around, the fourth Benedict Arnold learned to make barrels, moved to Norwich, Connecticut, and went to work for a prosperous merchant and sea captain named Absalom King. After King died suddenly of smallpox, Arnold married King’s widow, Hannah, and himself became a captain and successful merchant. Hannah gave birth to the fifth Benedict Arnold in 1738, but the child died of fever at just ten months. She had a second son on January 14, 1741. The boy was given the same name as his dead brother.

The Arnolds feared for their new baby. He was born right in the middle of one of the coldest months on record in the northeast, before or since. Early in January a mass of arctic air blew down from Canada and sat on coastal Connecticut, driving temperatures far below zero and holding them there for twenty days. Frozen snow covered fields and towns, silent roads, and abandoned wharfs. The streams froze, then the rivers, then, for the first time in local memory, shallow sections of ocean. Families huddled indoors, shivering when they stepped a few feet from the fireplace. It was a very bad time to be a newborn.

The sixth Benedict Arnold surprised everyone by surviving.

Pranks and Plays


Ten-year-old Benedict Arnold walked through the streets of Norwich with a sack of corn over his shoulder. He was on his way to the mill to have the corn ground into cornmeal.

When Benedict got to the mill, he saw a line of people ahead of him. This was not a boy who liked to wait. Reluctantly taking his place in line, he stood watching the rushing stream turn the mill’s huge wooden waterwheel. He looked again at the people in front of him—impatient boys and chatting adults: a perfect little audience.

Without a word, Benedict dropped his sack of corn, sprinted to the bank of the stream, and leaped through the air toward the spinning waterwheel. He slammed hard into the turning wheel, but managed to grab hold of one of the wet wooden spokes. Wrapping his body around the soggy wood, he rose high in the air, then swung upside down as the wheel turned, disappearing underwater. Seconds later he burst up with the wheel, dripping and smiling.

As he rose for another spin, he turned toward the line of people outside the mill. The boys grinned with admiration; the adults were in shock. The best part: they were all looking at him.

The people of Norwich soon got used to this kind of behavior. One local resident remembered young Benedict Arnold as a daredevil. Another, an early teacher, called him a bright boy, so full of pranks and plays.

Locals described Benedict as lean and strong, always carefully dressed in fine clothes. When not stuck in school or church, Benedict could be seen running or swimming, or sailing small boats, or jumping onto ships at the wharf and wriggling up the tallest masts just for the joy of the challenge. If the ship’s captain came out to curse him, he’d dive off into the river and swim to a safe distance. He was a thrill seeker, a natural athlete, a born show-off.

When Benedict was eleven years old, his parents sent him to a respected boarding school in the nearby town of Canterbury. There his troubles began.

In August 1753, Benedict opened a letter from his mother, Hannah. He was expecting routine news about his father and his three younger sisters: Hannah, Mary, and Elizabeth. Instead he read: Deaths are multiplying all ’round us, and more daily expected, and how soon our time will come, we know not.

An epidemic of yellow fever was ripping through Norwich, and Benedict’s sisters all had the telltale chills and yellow eyes. Benedict wanted to rush home to be with his family, but his mother refused to let him come—not while the deadly fever was still spreading. So he stayed at school, helplessly waiting for news.

Two weeks later his mother sent a terrifying update: For three or four days past we looked on Mary as one just stepping off the banks of time, and to all appearances, Hannah just behind. Prepare for the worst, she told her son. What God is about to do with us I know not, she wrote, We have a very uncertain stay in this world.

The next letter brought more news: Hannah seemed to be out of danger, but eight-year-old Mary was dead. Soon after that, his youngest sister, Elizabeth, also died. Benedict could not come home for the funerals for fear of catching the fever.

It was at about this time that twelve-year-old Benedict’s pranks and plays took on a different, more aggressive form. One day a barn near his schoolhouse caught fire, and Benedict and the other boys ran out to watch it burn. Their teacher arrived moments later, glanced through the small crowd, and demanded to know where Arnold had gone. The boys looked around. He had been there a moment earlier.

Then the mystery was solved—everyone looked up at the burning barn and there, on top of the slanted roof, holding out his arms for balance, was Benedict Arnold. Through black smoke and rising orange flames the boys and teacher watched Benedict walk from one end of the barn to the other. Death may have taken his sisters. Balancing on the burning roof, Benedict was fighting back, letting death know he would not go quietly.

The yellow fever epidemic eventually ran its course in Norwich, but the Arnold family troubles only deepened. Throughout Benedict’s early childhood, the Arnolds had been among the richest families in Norwich. But that was changing. An economic slowdown in New England was killing his father’s shipping business. As debts piled higher, creditors began threatening to have Captain Arnold arrested for his failure to pay. The constant stress fueled an even bigger problem: Captain Arnold’s drinking. He’d always enjoyed his rum, but after watching his daughters die and his business collapse, he started drinking more frequently, more heavily.

Your father is in a poor state of health, Benedict’s mother wrote to the boy, disguising the true cause of the illness. She couldn’t cover it up for long, though. The family’s money ran out, and the Arnolds had to pull Benedict from his expensive school when he was thirteen.

Benedict may have been a troublemaker at school, but he actually enjoyed the classes and had been doing well, especially in math and Latin. He was disappointed to be forced to quit. And he was embarrassed to come home so suddenly, especially when he realized that everyone in town was gossiping about the fall of the once-proud Arnold family.

The angry teenager’s response was to push his public stunts further and further. When Norwich celebrated the anniversary of a British victory over the hated French, Benedict got his hands on a pouch of gunpowder, dumped the powder down the barrel of a small cannon on the town green, followed it up with a lit match, and leaped backward. He yelled Huzza! as the cannon spit fire past his face.

Soon after that, he celebrated another local holiday by leading a group of boys down to a waterfront shop and stealing some empty barrels. The plan was to make an enormous bonfire. But the shop owner saw the theft and shouted for help. When a constable came running, the boys left the barrels behind—all the boys except Benedict, that is, who stripped off his coat and dared the big man to a fistfight. He continued challenging the constable, even as the much stronger man carried him, kicking and cursing, from the street.

Within a year of Benedict’s return to Norwich, his father was finally arrested and jailed briefly for not paying his debts. The family’s dreams of sending Benedict to college were abandoned.

Unable to handle both a husband incapacitated by alcohol and an increasingly wild son, Hannah arranged for the fourteen-year-old Benedict to spend the next seven years as an apprentice with Daniel Lathrop, a relative of hers who ran an apothecary shop in town.

There are only scraps of evidence from this period, and they suggest that Benedict recognized this as a valuable opportunity, and behaved well. Channeling his energy into hard work, he learned to mix medicines and run the store. The only trouble came during the French and Indian War, when Arnold, then eighteen, ran off, without permission, to join the fighting. He was training at an army camp in New York when he heard from someone who’d recently come from Norwich that his mother was very sick, possibly dying. Arnold deserted the army and raced back to his family’s home. He sat by his mother’s bed for days, leaving only for brief periods to hide in the attic whenever army recruiters came through town. Hannah died in August 1759.

Arnold returned to the Lathrops’ shop to finish his apprenticeship. He gained the Lathrops’ trust, and they began sending him on trading voyages to Canada, the Caribbean, even Great Britain.

But life in Norwich was only getting worse, as Arnold’s father slipped further out of control. Church leaders threatened him. The justice of the peace issued an arrest warrant, stating: Benedict Arnold [Senior] of Norwich was drunk in said Norwich, so that he was disabled in the use of his understanding and reason.

Night after humiliating night, the younger Arnold was sent out to search the waterfront taverns for his father. He often had to literally drag the groaning, puking, crying man through the streets to their home. Curious eyes looked out from doorways and windows. Arnold felt the eyes watching him, judging him.

The old man finally died in 1762, leaving his son with nothing but debts and a fouled family name. Benedict Arnold was just twenty-one, but his many-sided character was already well formed. He was smart, a quick learner, and a hard worker with a ferocious determination to succeed. He longed for action, craved attention, and bristled at anything he perceived as criticism or disrespect. He respected authority when it suited him, but made his own rules when he felt the situation warranted. And he had a bold recklessness, a hunger for danger that both excited people and intimidated them. He was just beginning to realize what a useful weapon this could be.

These traits made an explosive mix, more than enough fuel to power a dazzling rise—and a spectacular crash.

Making of a Rebel


When Arnold’s apprenticeship ended, the Lathrops gave him some money to help him get started on his own. Arnold sailed to London to buy goods and opened his own shop in New Haven, Connecticut. He sold books and maps, cosmetics and jewelry, and some of the medicines he’d been trained to make, including various cold cures and an aphrodisiac called Francis’ Female Elixir.

At twenty-one, Arnold was the head of his family, which included only himself and his eighteen-year-old sister, Hannah. Hannah helped run the business, taking over entirely when Arnold sailed off on long trading voyages. Arnold, in turn, took his position as head of the family seriously—perhaps too seriously. Late one night he was walking home with a friend when he saw, through the lighted living room window, Hannah sitting with a French gentleman, a man Arnold had warned to stay away from his young sister.

Arnold told his friend to go to the front door and open it loudly. While the friend walked toward the door, Arnold loaded and cocked a pistol, and crouched in the shrubs beneath the window. The friend opened the front door as instructed. Thinking it was Hannah’s overprotective brother, the Frenchman leaped from the couch, tripped to the window, lifted the glass, jumped out, and sprinted down the dark street. Arnold took a shot toward the bouncing figure, purposely aiming just a little high.

That was the last time anyone saw Hannah’s Frenchman.

Over the next few years, Arnold was too focused on business to care much about politics—until politics began to threaten his business.

Soon after the French and Indian War ended in 1763, the victorious but deeply indebted British government decided to tax the American colonists. With no representation in the British Parliament, colonists protested that Britain had no right to tax them. Along with merchants all over the Colonies, Arnold refused to pay the duties on imported goods. Instead he became a tax protester—and a smuggler. This led to an important turning point in Arnold’s life.

In January 1766, a sailor named Peter Boles was seen sneaking into the customs house at the New Haven waterfront. The customs commissioner wasn’t there, and Boles came back out moments later. But Arnold could guess what had just happened. Boles had meant to inform the commissioner that Arnold was importing goods without paying British taxes. He was hoping to collect a reward for turning Arnold

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Что люди думают о The Notorious Benedict Arnold

20 оценки / 25 Обзоры
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  • (4/5)
    Interesting read. Gives a much different - more complex- understanding of the man.
  • (3/5)
    This book is about the life of Benedict Arnold and the role he played in the American revolution. It paints a wonderful picture of how he was at one point a crazy yet great leader during the revaluation, but Benedict would soon come to betray our country for money. It was then that he was no longer a hero to our county but a traitor. In his final years, he lived in London and ended up dying a painful death. This book got 3 stars because it was a good well written but it was not over the moon amazing. It gave a greatly detailed description of an American hero turned traitor. In conclusion, this book was very informative, but not extremely interesting.
  • (4/5)
    The book was very interesting, telling the story of Arnold with a very knowledgeable, informed author. When I bought this I did not realize that it was intended for younger readers, but could tell from the writing style. It still was enjoyable a read.
  • (4/5)
    Intriguing and entertaining.
  • (4/5)
    The Notorious Benedict Arnold is a biography of a man that started as patriot and ended as a traitor. This true story details Arnold's entire life, birth to death, but focuses on his rise to General and subsequent demotion leading to his infamous betrayals during the Revolutionary War. Arnold likes money, fame, and power. He wants to be important and become a General. Congress does not like him, they want him to be a soldier but George Washington thinks he should be a general. In the end, Arnold is demoted which makes him mad. This is the turning point for Arnold. He goes to the British and asks for a job as a General. They agree but also want him to spy for them. He does and gives them information on Fort George and then Fort Arnold (named after him!)so that the British can capture them. He has lots of secret meetings with Andre and writes secret papers to Andre. He hides them in Andre's stocking but when Andre gets caught, Arnold is discovered as a traitor. Andre gets hanged but Arnold goes to England. After spending some time there with his friend the king, he eventually is captured and hung.I liked that this was a true story and that the author put in real quotes. It was also cool that this biography encompassed his whole life because it really showed that people aren't good or bad. There is lots of in between. By describing his motivation for becoming a traitor, they showed that often things are not black and white, they are grey. The reader could understand why he did what he did.My favorite part was when Arnold blocked the British army with only six ships!
  • (4/5)
    We all know that Benedict Arnold is a troitor, but most of us don't know anything about him or what actually happened. This book sets forth clearly the train of events that changed an American hero into a villain.
  • (5/5)
    Steve Sheinkin’s “The Notorious Benedict Arnold” is a fascinating biography. The storytelling is perfect, and it really makes you understand Arnold’s life, and why he betrayed the Revolution. The books not only talks about his life, but it talks about his character, how it developed, and how his personality influenced his life. I strongly recommend that you read this book. I think that it is a great book for ages 12+. I love books about history, especially the American Revolution, and this is one of my favorite books. Also, Steve Sheinkin wrote some other fascinating books, like “Bomb” and “King George, what was his problem?” just to name a few. If you love history like I do, you should definitely read this book!
  • (5/5)
    good background on the petty politics, lack of deserved recognition combined with arnolds lack of tact that turned a bold, brave, would be hero, into a traitor. rather tragic story
  • (4/5)
    Listened to the audiobook only because it's exactly 7 hours as was my usually interminable drive to PA. Surprisingly, it totally drew me in. I knew that Benedict Arnold was a traitor during the war, but that was it. Regaled with adventurous narratives, I learned exciting things about this fascinating man. I recommend this to any history lovers grade 6 to adult. Readers should definitely have background knowledge of the Revolutionary War, as the author expects it, and if you're a young reader, you should definitely have a decent vocabulary and familiarity with war jargon. Excellent read!

  • (4/5)
    This book is a gem. I did not expect to like it and was not drawn in by the cover. However, Sheinkin does a beautiful job drawing the reader into to the personal stories of the characters in this eventful period in American history. Starting with Benedict Arnolds' birth and family life, you get a real sense of his personality and his need for glory as he gets involved with the American war effort. He shows amazing courage and charisma as a leader and in battle and then whines when he doesn't get as much recognition as he deserves. The book is filled with descriptions of the hardships of war (on both sides) and the uncertainty of the outcome. What a great way to learn! I would recommend this book to any teen who likes a good story with some action.
  • (4/5)
    An excellent children’s biography of Benedict Arnold! I loved the way Sheinkin allowed people to speak in their own words, using quite a few period quotations, while at the same time explaining things in clear, modern terms. In addition, he was trying to capture one of the more complex figures in Revolutionary history. [Aug. 2011]
  • (4/5)
    This is remarkable job of bringing Benedict Arnold to full life. He was a passionate character, which was his strength and ultimate flaw. I'm surprised at how little I knew of his story prior to this book, and glad to know more now. How tragic that he soured to the revolution after being such a significant hero. Fault is with him, but also his associates.Well done.
  • (5/5)
    OK, call me a history buff, but Ioved this true story, nonfiction told in such an engaging way. It read like great historical fiction. Sheinkin does not seem to judge his character, but lays him bare, warts and all. Of course warts are what we remember when Arnold's name is mentioned. Before reading this book, I didn't know he had also been a Revolutionary War hero, and that he actually died in England, not at the end of a rope in America. If this were read in a U. S. History class, it would be a winner, especially with guys. I want to read more by this author.
  • (5/5)
    Benedict Arnold is a fascinating character and Sheinkin brings him vividly to life in this lively, informative and quite engaging portrait. This is a biography written specifically for a teenage audience but any adult reader who enjoys a gripping, good story with a compelling character will enjoy it, too. I certainly did!
  • (5/5)
    5Q 4PThe Notorious Benedict Arnold is part biography, part history, and part creative nonfiction (that is, nonfiction written using elements of fiction). It chronicles the life of Benedict Arnold and his involvement in the American War of Independence, all leading up to his famous treason against his country. Steve Sheinkin based the narrative form of the book off firsthand accounts and testimonies by eyewitnesses.I enjoyed this book tremendously: it was readable, the author explained any possible esoteric section, and it's the first portrayal of Benedict Arnold as a human being with both vices and virtues. The author Steve Sheinkin keeps the reader engaged by writing the biography in a narrative form. Sheinkin goes beyond telling the story of Arnold's betrayal and gives the historical context of both the war and Arnold, allowing the reader to have a greater understanding of the traitorous general.The lengthy bibliography/recommended reading list at the end is a testament to Sheinkin's research, and is sufficient enough for anyone who would want to know more about Benedict Arnold. It gives the reader comfort to know that the author himself is a lifelong fan of the Revolutionary War, since it makes poor research or omitted sources unlikely.What especially sets this book apart are the relationships between important characters. The development of George Washington's friendship with Benedict Arnold was so believable that the reader could sympathize when Washington discovered Arnold's treason. It helped that not a single character was stereotyped or clichéd.In every respect, this book earned the YALSA award it received.
  • (2/5)
    The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin was shortlisted for a middle grade / young adult nonfiction CYBILs. It is part biography and part chronicle of the events that may have contributed to him eventually spying for the British. The first chapter was a rip snorter — beginning with Arnold's execution. What the book, though, assumes of the reader, is full knowledge of what his treasonous acts were. Now if there were written for adults — I would have no problem with that conceit. But this book is written for readers who are still completing their education and depending on their age — might not have reached the Revolutionary War in great detail.Later on the book includes lengthy descriptions of Benedict's command during the invasion of Canada as part of the Revolutionary War. Even being familiar with the dates and the areas of the battles, I found myself wanting maps and a timeline so I could see how one event related to another event. I suppose maps were kept out of the book since the narrative flows more like a novel than a history text. But without them I just can't recommend the book as a stand alone volume. The book is best suited for older readers who are versed in the basics of the Revolutionary War and Benedict Arnold's participation in it. It works as a supplementary text but only as one.
  • (5/5)
    Normally I'm not a big history buff, but the story of Benedict Arnold intrigued me when I first heard about it, so I decided to read up on it. I'm really glad I did, too, because this book is excellent. It reads more like a story than a historical biography, and yet gets all the important facts in. Not only do I now know a whole lot about Benedict Arnold, but I also want to know even -more-, especially about John André and the other characters in Arnold's story.Steven Sheinkin also gets points for an amazing ending (I'm a sucker for those).
  • (5/5)
    "Riding in front of the line, his eyes flashing, pointing with his sword to the advancing for, with a voice that rang as clear as a trumpet and electrified the line, he called upon the men to follow him to the charge."Benedict Arnold was one of George Washington's most charismatic and daring generals, leading soldiers to do great things in desperate battles they shouldn't have won. Readers see how Arnold grew from an impulsive, reckless boy into a soldier and officer who led his men into the forefront of bloody battles, putting himself in the most danger at every turn. What led him to betray the new country he'd fought so hard to free from British rule? Sheinkin keeps the suspense building, adding the story of John Andre, Arnold's British contact into the mix, as well as the political maneuvering, newspaper stories and social pressures of the times. Although Arnold ended up broke and disgraced in London, his story is one of "what if?" There are many points in his life when one decision or another could have turned him onto a completely different path... and could have changed American history. Sheinkin includes an extensive list of sources (lots of primary sources), and detailed notes on the quotes he uses throughout the book. This is the best researched and most engaging biography I've seen in a long time! Especially appropriate for 8th grade because of social studies connections.
  • (3/5)
    I had a tough time getting through my first 100 pages of this book because I tend to get a little lost in major “ battle” books (books that go into great depth describing a war battle). However, eventually, I understood why the author goes into such depth and the book ended up quite entertaining. The author lists good resources at the end and I am tempted to do more research. I think that’s the sign of a good story – one that inspires curiosity, which this book certainly did!
  • (4/5)
    Good read about Benedict Arnold not only for the facts about his life, but told it like a story, with forshadowing and "zest" which made for easy reading. The cover of the book was what really attracted me to it in the first place. I am not a "war" story reader, but this one really held my interest more than some of the YA fiction I have been reading for the booktalks. Some of the writing was a little stilted, but not enough to dissuade me from reading it or recommending it.
  • (3/5)
    “That is how Benedict Arnold lived his life. There were long periods of hard work occasionally interrupted by explosions of temper.” Known as America’s most infamous traitor, this biographical nonfiction young adult novel shares the other side of this of this once rising political patriot through his heroic battles for a budding country, success as Commander of America’s first naval fleet and his grueling 600-mile reconnaissance mission up the formidable Kennebec River to Quebec. Arnold possessed passionate political sentiment, but also a brash, bossy temperament that won him many enemies along with his conquests. His notorious downfall was caused by the steady build-up of years of hostile relationships, personal snubs and his pride. Until his death, he never saw his wrong doing and claimed, “I have ever acted from a principle of love to my country.”
  • (4/5)
    Sheinkin, Steve. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery. 352p., Roaring Book Press, 2010. Tr. $19.99. ISBN 978-1596434868; LC 1596434864It begins with a hanging. Learning about Benedict Arnold’s heroic and reckless exploits, his love for his country, and (perhaps more so) his need to be recognized and remembered, readers are allowed to draw their own conclusions on the motives of one our country’s greatest heroes and most infamous traitors. Organized by important dates of the American Revolution and Benedict Arnold’s career, this biography details the scandalous soldier’s life from beginning to end. Half way through the text, snippets of information about a man named John André begin to appear, and the reader is left to follow along Benedict Arnold’s inevitable self-destruction as their stories converge. Author Steve Shenkin uses journal entries, maps, letters, and various historic accounts to immerse the reader within the time period and to move the action along at a moderate pace. Aside from being a biography, this book is also an exemplary depiction of the war and nitty-gritty dealings of our founding fathers. Located in the back, before the index, young researchers will find the author’s list of sources incredibly useful. Highly recommended for any young adult biography collection or collections on the Revolutionary War. (YA Nonfiction, Ages 13-16)
  • (4/5)
    We all know that Benedict Arnold is a troitor, but most of us don't know anything about him or what actually happened. This book sets forth clearly the train of events that changed an American hero into a villain.
  • (4/5)
    Great information about a well-known name in Revolutionary War history. Sheinkin shows how Benedict Arnold could have been a celebrated hero, but because of his impatience, temper, and expensive tastes ultimately became frustrated with the Americans and approached the British with an offer to give them details of West Point so they could attack it. It almost succeeded. Prior to this he had been a courageous and brilliant soldier and tactician who had won decisive battles for the Americans against huge odds. His background family story helped to form a whole picture of why he made the decisions that he did.
  • (5/5)
    This is a great book for boys. It has lots of adventure, Arnold himself was a wild, reckless and somewhat insane character.