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Benedict Arnold: A Drama
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      An Entertaining and Educational look at U.S. History

Title: Benedict Arnold: A Drama of the American Revolution in Five Acts

Author: Robert Zubrin

Publisher:  Polaris Books (June 2005)

Genre:  Historical Drama

ISBN:  0974144312

Paperback: 104 pages



Rating: Highly Recommended


September 29, 2005


Benedict Arnold: A Drama of the American Revolution in Five Acts is both an enjoyable read as well as a unique look at the struggle for the U.S. to become the Democracy that it is today.  Benedict Arnold is portrayed as a fearless hero who is instrumental in the success of the American forces in spite of some of the challenges that they faced.  Injured during a campaign, he is seen as a hero who has gained the respect of General George Washington himself.


As he faces a long recovery from his wounds, which injure his spirit more so than his body, through this play you can see that he begins to envy the British and he desires the things that someone of his social status would normally be denied.  Sensing this weakness and utilizing her feminine charm, a Tory spy named Peggy Shippen is convinced by a British agent named John André to coerce Arnold into betraying his country.


Arnold feels as if he is backed into a corner as he does not want to return to his employ as a local pharmacist and bookseller.  As he tries to decide what he can do to retain a high status, Peggy – under the influence of Andre, suggests that he sells secrets to the British for a high price.  He is torn between his loyalties to the country and to General Washington, but as he negotiates a large fee (10,000 pounds) for turning over West Point to the British, his loyalties are quickly forgotten.


Although he was assigned another high military post by Washington, he protests and calls himself lame until Washington aggress that he is to be given command of West Point. He sets up a favorable scenario for a successful British Invasion and gives John André detailed plans of West Point.  Andre’ is captured with the plans and all fingers point to Arnold as the one who gave him the information.  Hence – the plan is foiled as André is executed and Arnold escapes to England where he is generally despised.


I’ve read Zubrin’s “The Holy Land”;  this book, although more historical non-fiction as opposed to Science Fiction, highlights his versatility and fact-finding abilities was a joy to read and it makes an otherwise mundane topic very entertaining and enlightening.  Although a short read, because it is actually a play, it was one book that will give my library some diversity and substance that I will enjoy for years to come.



Reviewed by Tyrone V. Banks

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