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Most people know that Benedict Arnold was America's first, most notorious traitor. Few know that he was also one of its greatest war heroes. This accessible biography introduces young readers to the real Arnold: reckless, heroic, and driven. Packed with first-person accounts, astonishing battle scenes, and surprising twists, this is a gripping and true adventure tale.
The Notorious Benedict Arnold is the winner of the 2011 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Nonfiction.
About the Author
Steve Sheinkin is the award-winning author of several fascinating books on American history, including The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which won the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction. His recent book Bomb was a Newbery Honor Book, National Book Award finalist, and winner of the Sibert Award as well as the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Read an Excerpt
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.
THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD Copyright © 2010 by Steve Sheinkin
Table of Contents
ContentsClearing in the Woods October 2, 1780,
Benedict Arnold January 14, 1741,
Pranks and Plays 1751 — 1762,
Making of a Rebel 1762 — 1775,
Arnold's War April 19 — May 9, 1775,
Across the Lake May 10 — May 15, 1775,
Trouble at Fort Ti May 18 — June 19, 1775,
Enter André June 1775,
A Risky Proposition July 1 — September 18, 1775,
To the Dead River September 18 — October 17, 1775,
Critical and Alarming October 19 — October 29, 1775,
City on a Cliff October 29 — November 8, 1775,
Prisoner of War September — November 1775,
To the Storming November 8 — December 30, 1775,
Battle for Quebec December 31, 1775,
Blockade in the Snow January 1 — February 27, 1776,
André in Pennsylvania January — July 1776,
The Last Man Out May 6 — July 28, 1776,
Arnold's Motley Crew August 1 — October 11, 1776,
Battle of Valcour Island October 11, 1776,
The Revolution Lives October 12 — November 2, 1776,
André Fights On November 1776 — April 1777,
A Question of Honor January 4 — April 25, 1777,
Exceedingly Unhappy April 25 — July 11, 1777,
Arnold Rides North July 11 — August 24, 1777,
Conquer or Die August 28 — September 20, 1777,
Bloody Piece of Work September 1777,
Beyond Reconciliation September 20 — October 7, 1777,
Fracture Box October 8, 1777 — January 20, 1778,
Peggy Shippen November 1777 — April 1778,
Back to Philadelphia April 1 — June 19, 1778,
Cupid's Wound June 20 — September 14, 1778,
Arnold Under Attack September 25, 1778 — February 28, 1779,
André in New York September 1778 — April 1779,
Delay Worse than Death April 8 — May 7, 1779,
Everything at Stake May 10 — May 30, 1779,
The Price of West Point June 1779 — July 1780,
Attacking Fort Arnold July 31 — September 17, 1780,
The Floating Vulture September 19 — September 22, 1780,
No-Man's Land September 22 — September 23, 1780,
Papers of a Dangerous Tendency September 23 — September 25, 1780,
A Scene Too Shocking September 25, 1780,
Ready at Any Moment September 26 — October 2, 1780,
The Devil's Reward October 3 — November 14, 1780,
I Must Never Return 1780 — 1804,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm not even finished with this book and I love it! The chapters are a perfect amount of pages, and the words and letters are a good size to be readable. Normally in a biography it'd tell you the main events with little detail. This one however puts you in Arnold's shoes with great detail. Worth buying. Note: This is NOT the eBook review. This is the paperback edition. Thank you for reading this review and consider my opinion before buying.
Best history book I have ever read!
This book was very good with all its twits and all but all in all.i loved this book
Could be better... probably would'n buy.
Interesting, full of detail and depth. It is a bit dull at parts, but overall an interestibg read.
Unless you would like to take a nap, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR.
I had to read this for a book club and i didnt even read it. I kept on hitting the next page button until i got to the end if the book. I wouldnt read this unless you want to fall asleep. I dont think it was that great but thats just my opinion.