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Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (The American Revolution Series Book 2) by [Nathaniel Philbrick]
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Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (The American Revolution Series Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 931 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"May be one of the greatest what-if books of the age—a volume that turns one of America’s best-known narratives on its head.”
—Boston Globe

“A suspenseful, richly detailed, and deeply researched book about the revolutionary struggle that bound George Washington and Benedict Arnold together and almost disastrous dysfunction of America’s revolutionary government that helped drive them apart.”
The New York Review of Books

"Clear and insightful, it consolidates his reputation as one of America's foremost practitioners of narrative nonfiction."
—Wall Street Journal

"Philbrick is both a meticulous historian and a captivating storyteller. The book has unforgettable novelistic details [and] also contains much astute historical analysis and argument. Philbrick sees Arnold not as the man who almost lost the war so much as the catalyst that helped to win it."
—Christian Science Monitor

“This is history at its most compelling: political machinations, military jostling and outright treachery. And Philbrick’s vivid writing brings the whistling cannon balls and half-frozen soldiers to life (and death) in vivid detail….He peels back the mythology to reveal a teetering war effort, a bickering Congress, discordant states unwilling to coalesce to support the new national government and — above all — a traitor who sought to sell out his own country for personal gain and achieved instead the one thing that no other revolutionary could: a unification of the Americans and an end to the war. And for that, we have much to thank Benedict Arnold."
Seattle Times
 
"Benedict Arnold takes center stage in Nathaniel Philbrick’s vivid and in some ways cautionary tale of the Revolutionary War. The near-tragic nature of the drama hinges not on any military secrets Arnold gave to the British but on an open secret: the weakness of the patriot cause….Arnold’s betrayal still makes for great drama, proving once again that the supposed villains of a story are usually the most interesting."
New York Times Book Review

“Philbrick wants his readers to experience the terror, the suffering and the adrenaline rush of battle, and he wants us to grit our teeth at our early politicians who, by their pettiness and shortsightedness, shape military events as profoundly as generals and admirals do. Finally, he reveals the emotional and physical cost of war on colonial society. He succeeds on all fronts.”
Washington Post

“Philbrick has the ability to take seemingly dry facts of history and turn them into exciting prose. The players come alive and their motivations are clear. The people he chronicles are legends, so revealing to the reader what makes them human, foibles and all, helps make sense of the events that transpired and why they acted the way they did.”
—Associated Press

"Philbrick's deep scholarship, nuanced analysis, and novelistic storytelling add up to another triumph."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A lively account of our Revolutions’ most reviled figure.”
Kirkus Reviews

"An engrossing narrative of the war’s most difficult years... Philbrick argues that the quarrelsome, divided Americans needed Arnold’s perfidy as much as they did Washington’s greatness to unify their new nation. He pushes aside the patriotic myth to unveil the war’s messy reality—and it’s still a rousing adventure.”
—BookPage

“As another American summer crawls toward the Fourth of July, and with a presidential election creeping up like Freddy on Elm Street, Nathaniel Philbrick offers some beach reading to remind us that outsized egos and a dysfunctional Congress were as much at issue in 1776 as they are now — if that’s any comfort...Valiant Ambition colorfully reconstructs the character-driven battles that defined the Revolutionary War.”
—USA Today

 
“Look, you’re not getting tickets to Hamilton. If he were alive, George Washington himself couldn’t get tickets to Hamilton. Here’s a cheaper alternative…a new look at the first American president and contrasts him with our most famous traitor.”
—The Miami Herald


Praise for Bunker Hill

"A masterpiece of narrative and perspective."
Boston Globe

"A tour de force . . ."
Chicago Tribune

"Popular history at its best—a taut narrative with a novelist's touch, grounded in careful research."
Miami Herald

"A story that resonates with leadership lessons for all times."
—Walter Isaacson, The Washington Post

"A gripping book."
The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of In the Heart of the Sea, winner of the National Book Award; Mayflower, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Bunker Hill, winner of the New England Book Award; Sea of Glory; The Last Stand; Why Read Moby Dick?; and Away Off Shore. He lives in Nantucket. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0141ZP36A
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Books (May 10, 2016)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ May 10, 2016
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 41482 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 443 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 931 ratings

About the author

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Nathaniel Philbrick

Life at a Glance

Born

1956 in Boston, Mass.

Educated

Linden Elementary School and Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, Pa.; BA in English from Brown University in Providence, RI, and an MA in America Literature from Duke University in Durham, NC

Sailing

Philbrick was Brown's first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978; that year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI; today he and his wife Melissa sail their Beetle Cat Clio and their Tiffany Jane 34 Marie-J in the waters surrounding Nantucket Island.

Married

Melissa Douthart Philbrick, who is an attorney on Nantucket. They have two children: Jennie, 23, and Ethan 20.

Career

After grad school, Philbrick worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during which time he wrote/edited several sailing books, including Yaahting: A Parody (1984), for which he was the editor-in-chief; during this time he was also the primary caregiver for his two children. After moving to Nantucket in 1986, he became interested in the history of the island and wrote Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People. He was offered the opportunity to start the Egan Maritime Foundation in 1995, and in 2000 he published In the Heart of the Sea, followed by Sea of Glory, in 2003, and Mayflower, due in May 2006.

Awards and Honors

In the Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award for nonfiction; Revenge of the Whale won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Sea of Glory won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize and the Albion-Monroe Award from the National Maritime Historical Society. Philbrick has also received the Byrne Waterman Award from the Kendall Whaling Museum, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for distinguished service from the USS Constitution Museum, the Nathaniel Bowditch Award from the American Merchant Marine Museum, and the William Bradford Award from the Pilgrim Society.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
931 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

R Helen
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 24, 2018
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars As Effective as Ken Burns' 'The Civil War' and with better picture quality - i.e. my imagination!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2021
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Argyrios Pisiotis
5.0 out of 5 stars Another "must-read" for Philbrick fans and lovers of American history
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2016
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2 people found this helpful
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Musichound
2.0 out of 5 stars Love all of his books but this one missed the ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 1, 2017
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Cosmo lang
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a glance!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2019
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