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Murphy, Jim. The Real Benedict Arnold. New York: Clarion, 2007. Pp 264.Tiasia Covington

1137 words - 5 pages

Jim Murphy’s The Real Benedict Arnold went in-depth and described in a detailed manner the life of Benedict Arnold. Murphy’s purpose of writing this book about Benedict Arnold was to expose some of the rumors and folktales that have been added to Benedict Arnold’s life so that we can see him in fair and objective way. He wanted to state the facts pertaining to Benedict Arnold’s life and help the reader obtain a more thorough understanding of who Benedict was and the motivations that led to his treasonous schemes. Although, he lacked key documents from Benedict’s life, he still provided an accurate account that allowed readers to gain a better understanding of Benedict’s life, the reasons behind why he became a traitor, and the truth behind the lies that slandered Benedict’s name.
Although, the book is well written and provides good information about Benedict, Murphy fails to capture the reader’s attention in the beginning. The book does not become interesting until the actual betrayal is discussed within the book. Most readers will have a hard time reading this book because it lacks interest in the everyday common person. Murphy’s style is very formal and original, yet an average person would find it hard to read this book because of the wordings he used in the book. This book would ideally interest people who like battle strategies, details, and history in general.
Unlike other books, The Real Benedict Arnold does not just discuss Benedict being a traitor, but discusses his life in general. It gives the reader an understanding of Benedict the person and not just Benedict the American traitor. Murphy makes the reader see Benedict as just another person who made a bad choice in life and he just so happened to become famous from his choice. He sets the record straight, acknowledging that, although he was flawed, Arnold was not the monster many would have people believe. It provides facts and exposes lies about the life of Benedict Arnold.
Throughout Murphy’s The Real Benedict Arnold, he helps the reader get great visuals of what is going on in that point of Benedicts life by providing pictures. Pictures of Benedict (pg9) his wife (pg 179), fight of Lexington (pg49) and many others help the reader fully visualize what is going on. Murphy also sheds light on false pictures that have been made and passed down through history such as a painting John Turmbull made putting Horatio Gates in the center of the surrender of Burgoyne’s army when Horatio Gates never even set foot on the battlefield (pg167) and A painting created suggesting that Benedict burned down New London, Connecticut in revenge, and that a woman nearly brought Benedict to justice, which is not true (pg 227)
Stories of Benedict in his young age were mostly made by people who openly disliked the man. Many people have spread vicious rumors about Benedict’s life that are not true. There are no confirmed details of Benedict’s childhood or what was he like as a child. Another reason...

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