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
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.