The Real Benedict Arnold by Jim Murphy

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Every account of the American Revolution mentions Benedict Arnold and brands him—correctly—as a traitor. There’s no question that Arnold, an American army officer, switched his loyalty to the British side. Over the years, however, historians, partisans, and gossips have added to Arnold’s unsavory reputation by distorting, embroidering, or simply ignoring factual details.
In this informed and thoughtful account, Jim Murphy goes in search of the real man behind the “traitor” label, rumors, and folktales that became part of the Benedict Arnold legend. Drawing on Arnold’s few surviving writings and on the letters, memoirs, and political documents of his contemporaries, Murphy builds a fascinating portrait of a brilliant man, consistently undervalued by his peers, who made a choice that continues to reverberate through American history. Dramatic accounts of crucial battles and political maneuvers round out this lively biography of a patriot who could have been a hero.

About Jim Murphy

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Jim Murphy is the author of An American Plague, which received the Sibert Medal and a Newbery Honor and was selected as a National Book Award finalist. His Clarion titles include The Boys' War and other award-winning nonfiction as well as a picture book, Fergus and the Night-Demon. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his family. For more information visit
Published September 17, 2007 by Clarion Books. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Since Arnold wrote no personal history or diary, and his wife burned his letters, much of this volume relies on “what ifs,” “must haves,” “seems to be” and “there’s no telling.” Murphy starts with Arnold’s birth and works forward, but for young readers who may know little about Arnold, starting w...

Sep 17 2007 | Read Full Review of The Real Benedict Arnold

Publishers Weekly

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The two-faced silhouette of Benedict Arnold on the cover of Murphy’s (An American Plague ) biography furnishes a telling image: one profile looks sharp and stately;

Nov 05 2007 | Read Full Review of The Real Benedict Arnold

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