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

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

by Steve Sheinkin


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The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery by Steve Sheinkin

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596434868
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: 11/09/2010
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 626,406
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 990L (what's this?)
Age Range: 11 - 14 Years

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


Clearing 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,
Source Notes,
Quotation Notes,

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The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best history book I have ever read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very good with all its twits and all but all in all.i loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could be better... probably would'n buy.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting, full of detail and depth. It is a bit dull at parts, but overall an interestibg read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unless you would like to take a nap, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.