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God Save Benedict Arnold

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God Save Benedict Arnold by Jack Kelly

If you are unsure of any fact concerning Benedict Arnold, this book will clarify everything. Researched as well as any doctoral thesis, you will come to understand Arnold’s betrayal. While many factors caused Arnold to turn on the country he loved, he ultimately sold his soul for money. 

If you relish stories of battles, names of fighters and how we barely conquered the British, this book will fill your passions. It is remarkable that the ragtag bunch of ill-equipped young men battled so long and so hard. Where was Congress with all the money?

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for providing this book for review via Net Galley. All opinions are my own. I’ll give this fact-filled work four stars for Kelly’s achievement. It will appeal especially to avid historians.
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Thank you, Jack Kelly, for giving me a new perspective on the life of Benedict Arnold.  Like many who grew up in the United States, I knew Benedict Arnold as a traitor to America and little else.  You have shown me he was a gifted war strategist and a multi-faceted person.

The American Revolution and the Civil War share some important similarities in that often times family members and friends were on opposing sides.  And there were many people who remained neutral.  It’s easy to see how the lines could become blurred for individuals living during those times.

In Benedict’s case, he wanted to be rewarded for his military successes and it often seemed someone else stole the spotlight and that Congress overlooked him for promotions.  At times he was serving under individuals who had once been serving under him.  He felt humiliated and was dissatisfied in serving for the Patriot cause.  Most likely the only reason he stayed as long as he did was because of his belief in the cause and his favorable relationship with George Washington.

I loved reading this and learning about a side of American history I knew little about.  This would be a great gift for readers who love history and the strategies of war during the American Revolutionary times.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy.  I am happy of offer an honest review and recommend this to other readers.
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I received an advance reading copy (arc) of this book from in return for a fair review. Whenever you think of the name 'Benedict Arnold', a few words come to mind...words like turncoat, traitor, or defector. We don't think of Arnold as an exemplary officer or valiant soldier or brilliant strategist--all things he embodied before he turned. Author Jack Kelly has done an amazing job of describing a complex man who thrived on the battlefield and led the Colonial Army to major victories on Valcour Island and Saratoga. Had he died in battle in either of these arenas, no doubt Benedict Arnold would have gone down in history as one of America's greatest heroes. In the days of the Revolutionary War, however, it was the Continental Congress who designated ranks. General George Washington could submit his recommendations, but the final decisions were up to those men running the government and Benedict Arnold's arrogance rubbed many the wrong way. He was overlooked time and time again while his subordinates were promoted over him, but that was no excuse for the path he chose. When he defected to the British side, General Washington was genuinely heartbroken to find his trust betrayed in the worst possible way. This book was very well-written and researched. Author Jack Kelly gives a well-rounded picture of the man who went down in history as the worst of the worst.
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God Save Benedict Arnold by Jack Kelly
Posted on November 29, 2023 by Jack

Benedict Arnold was a hero and General in the American Revolution before he became a traitor late in the war. Why did he do this? Most of us may know little but his treason. This book fills in all those details of what came before the treason and discusses possible reasons why he became a traitor. The full title is God Save Benedict Arnold: The True Story of America’s Most Hated Man.

Jack Kelly ( has written a wonderful book that will educate and thrill us as we learn about this complicated American hero and traitor.

The book will be published December 5. I thank both Netgalley ( and St. Martin’s Press ( for the chance to read this before publication. I highly recommend God Save Benedict Arnold to anyone with an interest in the American Revolution.
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This book chronicles the complex character of Benedict Arnold—an audacious, brilliant soldier whose early exploits were pivotal to American independence, yet whose treason remains indelible. Shedding new light on Arnold’s motives, this exploration offers a fresh perspective on his legacy as both hero and turncoat.

This thorough and well-researched military history provides a detailed account of Arnold's campaigns and battles.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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4 solid stars for a balanced biography of of Benedict Arnold. Arnold is chiefly remembered as a traitor. This book details his crucial contributions to the American cause prior to turning traitor.
1: He conquered Fort Ticonderoga from the British. Ticonderoga's canons made possible the American victory at Boston.
2 He led the failed expedition through the Maine wilderness to capture Quebec city.
3 . He prevented the British from taking control of Lake Champlain at the battle of Valcour.
4. His leadership at the battle of Saratoga was crucial to the American victory.
Without his leadership, the American Revolution would have been strangled in its infancy
However, his contributions were frequently ignored by the Continental Congress and causing him to be angry and embittered.
One quote, author's description of Benedict Arnold: "In many ways, he was a typical American-cocky, restless, grasping, perpetually optimistic, quick to take offense. He was a vivid example of the self-reliance and rugged individualism that would be celebrated by Americans from Ralph Wales Emerson to Ronald Reagan. But self-reliance can beget arrogance."
This book is a page turner. I read it in 2 days.
Thank you Katie Holt at St.Martin's Press for sending me this eARC through NetGalley.
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Benedict Arnold is still a jerk. However, it is nice to read Jack Kelly's new book to be reminded he was one hell of a battlefield commander. And also impossible to get along with if you spent more than 10 minutes with him. 

Kelly's God Save Benedict Arnold is a very good book mostly focused on Arnold's battles on the good side (U-S-A! U-S-A!) before he broke bad. Kelly's writing style is perfect for the subject as the battles feel frenetic even with the outcome long since established. I did appreciate that Kelly didn't overpraise anyone in particular including Arnold. As a self-identified Revolutionary War nerd, I've read many books that fall into hero worship for specific figures at the expense of others. For example, it is very easy to make Horatio Gates look bad at Saratoga but Kelly keeps a balanced view and doesn't attribute otherworldly leadership to Arnold as the battle is won.

This is a great book for anyone who isn't that familiar with the American Revolution or hasn't picked up a book about it since grade school. Kelly keeps the pacing brisk and it's an easy read. If you are more familiar with all the major players, this won't shed a tremendous amount of new light on the events of this time period. It also doesn't spend a tremendous amount of time trying to answer the "why" of Arnold's treachery. This is not a criticism as Kelly is focused on his battlefield prowess. It's a great read.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and St. Martin's Press.)
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Fascinating.  Benedict Arnold has become a punch line, a tag line, a code name but who among us knows who he really was?  Well, thank to Kelly, who has done one wallop of a job researching him you'll know that he was so much more than what you might have thought.  Kelly's writing is clear and brings Arnold to life.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  The best sort of biography.
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God Save Benedict Arnold by Jack Kelly

I remembered very little about Benedict Arnold from my history classes back oh so long ago. I did remember that he was a traitor and that being a "Benedict Arnold" was a bad thing. Going back this far in my reading was taking me back to history that I was fuzzy on but I'm enjoying history books more and more nowadays and this book has me wanting to learn more about the people and events around the Revolutionary War. 

Benedict Arnold was an amazing man in many ways and it does seem his accomplishments were often overlooked or claimed by others. Arnold probably wanted recognition, fame, and glory even more than he wanted wealth but in the end he'd take wealth if he couldn't have the other things. Arnold's success as a solder carried over from one side to the other. He was able to accomplish what others could not during battle. He seemed to have no qualms about risky situations and he was brilliant at leading men into the direst of battles and coming out on top. Strategy in war or business was his forte. Getting along with people, especially those who he thought had slighted him, not so much. 

Arnold was resentful and bitter for not getting the recognition he felt he deserved and from this book it does look like, time and time again, he was overlooked and undermined when it came to promotions and rank. Even when Arnold continued to do a great job of leading on the battlefield, he was simmering inside, so when he finally was recognized for what he had done, it was too late. In hindsight, Arnold was a powder keg that was going to blow in some way and blow he did. Nothing can excuse his betrayal of those he had fought for and with and of those he led. Once he went to the other side he was instrumental in killing the very people he had lived among. Did this make him a hero to the other side? No, in the end Arnold was a traitor and despite all of his many accomplishments, Arnold is remembered as a traitor. 

I learned about many other men of this time and the bibliography and footnotes in this book are very helpful in leading me to other works that I want to read. Even though I knew how this story ended history-wise, I still enjoyed remembering/learning how we got there. It is a hard read though, as are all books of war, and as usual, it's the common man/woman, as soldiers or as civilians, who seem to take the brunt of war's beatings. 

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
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God Save Benedict Arnold is a passable Revolutionary War book that allows readers to peek into the life of America’s well known traitor Benedict Arnold. Jack Kelly crafts a good book but nothing on the level of Chernow or Clavin.
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History comes alive in this biography of one of the most notorious figures in United States History....or perhaps pre-history.  All we are ever told is that he was a villainous traitor, but even the details of that have become vague over time.
  The colonies were in a state of unrest and dissatisfaction.  They felt that King George III, was just imposing too much on and against them.  Early on, most of the colonists felt that their disagreements would be mended and life would continue on under British rule.  King George scoffed at that, If the colonists wanted war, he would give it to them and put an end to their rebelliousness.  They were farmers, it wouldn't take much to bring them back to heel. 
  Benedict Arnold was a successful owner of his own merchant business. He captain his own trading vessel and traveled to far off ports to negotiate.  He was one of the few, early on, who knew that the unrest was destined to be much more.  At great risk to himself, he gathered men to enlist in the colonial/Patriot army.  He was a brilliant strategist. Decisive and quick to act, he accomplished the capture of a couple British forts,  without a shot fired.  As time went on, he sacrificed his own wealth and business to push forward the patriot cause towards independence.  He felt under-appreciate through all his achievements and sacrifices.  The colonial congress overlooked him many times and promoted men below him to higher military ranks and honors.  Others took credit for his achievements.
   As I read these accounts I could almost understand what lead to his downfall.   It finally came to a climax after he received a major injury that left him out of action and able to brood on all the slights he had suffered.  The British officers reporting back, after suffering major losses at Arnold's hand, paid him more respect then did most of his own colonial politicians.  
  Finally, Gen George Washington learned that Arnold, who he viewed as a close friend, was feeding intelligence to the British army.  History has claimed it was from greed, the British were going to pay Arnold handsomely for his information and internal undermining of the patriot military locations.  After reading this vivid biography, I believe it may be more than that.  He seems to have been a very sensitive individual, every slight, perceived or real, was taken deeply and finally festered to the point where he acted out.  After all, if it was money he wanted more than anything else, why spend his own in the beginning, leading his business into debt and ruin?
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This is a good biography of one of the most notorious individuals during the history of our country. The author does a good job of covering Arnold’s role during the Revolutionary War. It is more a of cursory coverage of his early life and after he defected to the British compared to the actual war years. Overall a good book.

I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook page.
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This was an absorbing read, impeccably researched, thoughtfully constructed, and impressive in notes and bibliography. The book reached brilliance in the vivid depiction of exactly what it was like to be toiling through rough country in search of the enemy especially in the early years of the revolution, when the forming nation wasn't even certain it wanted to be a nation.

I read this, as it happened, while I was traveling through the very areas Arnold and his troops struggled through. From the train windows, as I crossed the border, I could look out at the beautiful countryside and imagine just how terrible it was to be compounding with that terrain through the heat of summer, and the bitter winters.

I appreciated the plentiful quotations from period sources, and I looked forward to the revelation of "Why?" But we really don't get a why. What Kelly gives us are strong arguments supporting Arnold's decision to jump the fence, but we don't actually have direct evidence for his inner process. It's clear that Kiley went spelunking for clues, and these are on display, but the reader will still have to decide for themselves.

The aftermath, and what Arnold meant as a symbol, and the consequences of his actions--both for himself and for the early republic--are well laid out. Overall, an excellent addition to modern scholarship about the American Revolution.
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Benedict Arnold being a traitor who joined the British is always the first thing that comes to mind when I think about him. I had no idea he was such a fascinating man or just how much he did for America before staining his legacy. Reading about all his deeds and misdeeds has given me a new view of the man, a much more nuanced one. If you have any interest in Arnold or the path that led him to treason, then you should pick up this book.

This book starts with Benedict's family life growing up and then dives right into the American Revolution and Arnold's eagerness to fight. Jack Kelly covers Arnold's military career and his decision to abscond, as well as the aftermath and other Americans who also committed similar treason. By the end of the book the author did a great job of setting Arnold up as a complex man who at times was as much a hero as he wound up being a traitor.
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God Save Benedict Arnold
Written By Jack Kelly
Published By St. Martins Press
Release Date December 05, 2023

As I read this very interesting novel about the most hated man in America, I learned many things that were not taught in school. Things that I believe should have been taught. As a military officer he was brave, courageous, confident, and capable of taking on anyone who stepped in his way of conquering the war. Yet there was one thing that Arnold was accused of that set his path on a course that would change his good name forever.. Treason. Kelly has done an amazing job of researching Arnold and putting it all in words that can be read by many of any age. As I think about the historical events such as the Revolutionary War, I begin to see how America changed and those who helped make it better… well their names will always be synonymous with great things but those who started out great but ultimately made a path for themselves down the wrong road… well they will always be remembered for that one thing that made headlines everywhere. Right or wrong, Benedict Arnold stood firm in his belief that America was the land of the free. This book certainly does not exonerate Arnold for his misdeeds but it does show how he started his career in the military and how revered he once was.

5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy to read in exchange for my unbiased and honest review.
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The name Benedict Arnold is synonymous with traitor and this book doesn't shy away from that but it does tell more of Arnold's story before his infamous act of betrayal. Well written and researched this book showed how the roll of Benedict Arnold in the American Revolution was central to the effort and his contributions were often overlooked or challenged by his enemies in the ranks as well as congress at the time and certainly after his dishonor. This book is full of contemporary observations by his peers (including George Washington) to bring Arnold to life and show his part in the revolution. Arnold was a courageous leader of men who put a lot of his own honor and treasure into the American cause and this book tells of his part in many pivotal campaigns for the Americans that don't get much attention because if Arnold's thwarted plot to turn West Point over to the British. I received a free ARC of this book from the Publisher.
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Benedict Arnold was an extraordinary American patriot, thwarting British counterattacks and playing a crucial role in the victory at Saratoga. After a serious leg injury, his idleness got him into trouble. 
Congress did not support the Continental Army and Arnold did not get the recognition he felt he deserved. He acted like a spoiled little boy who didn’t get his way. Before the war, he’d been a pushy, cocky merchant. He was excited by fighting and violence, not the concepts behind the war. No role model, he.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher St. Martin's Press for an advance copy of this look at the actions of one of America's first traitors, the actions that made him a hero of the Revolution and the dark thoughts that made him a villain for all time. 

There is an acronym used by American intelligence to explain the motivations of why one would want to spy or become a traitor to one's home country. M. I. C. E. Money, Ideology, Coercion or Compromise, and finally Ego. When one looks at the current political landscape, and the news at night one can see how this is really a great summation of why people turn. Money makes the world go round, ideology can change with age, a strong supporter can see the cracks in belief as one gets older. Coercion and compromise can mean many things from threats to occupation, life or even family. Ego though. That's has brought down many a person, especially if one is always looking for slights, and dents to their self-esteem. Thinking one is the smartest, the bestest, the mega-something, makes one easy to fool if someone toadies up to them just right. Ego makes on feel they are bigger than loyalty, and loyalty is easily thrown away, for a very small price. Benedict Arnold was once a hero of the burgeoning Revolution, until his faults made his name synonymous with being a traitor. The truth as usual is quite complicated. Historian and author Jack Kelly in God Save Benedict Arnold: The True Story of America's Most Hated Man looks at the Arnold as a man who have gone down in history as a hero, but Arnold's inability to handle the slings and arrows of those he considered lesser people let him down a much darker path. 

Benedict Arnold was born in a family that had a name and some prominence, but trouble was soon to ruin this idyllic life. As Arnold was learning to be a gentleman, the family suffered a series of deaths in the family, that drove Arnold's father to drink, and lose the family's fortune. Arnold soon had to give up schooling, and his dreams of college, something that bothered him the rest of his life, and begin an apprenticeship. Arnold was a hard worker, and a man not afraid to get his hands dirty, working his way up to being a merchant who traveled south to engage in trade, making the best deals he could, and dealing with both outfitting a ship, and a crew that could be sometimes a little rough. At the time of the Revolution, Arnold quickly used his skills to gather a troop of men with plans to go North dealing with forts, and later to seize Canada. Arnold's time as a merchant taught him how to equip men, deal with officers make decisions, and more importantly gather intelligence. Along the way Arnold rubbed some people wrong, wrong enough to spread rumors that would effect his career later. Arnold was a brave soldier, gaining respect for his care with his men, and even catching the eye of George Washington. However, Arnold had another skill, that of making enemies, which combined with an attitude that took any slight as a mortal insult, also hindered his advancement. And dark thoughts began to take hold. 

An very good book about a very complicated man. Jack Kelly is very good at describing the man that Arnold was, a hero in many ways. Arnold did enter the war with the best of intentions. However his lack of people skills, and ability to grate on people, combined with his inability to handle any besmirching of his character was his biggest downfall. Seizing forts, building navies, leading troops, paying his men when they weren't being paid, Arnold really was a good leader. However politics is filled with good people, and pople who are not, and many did have gripes with Arnold. Kelly does a very good job of describing both the battles and infighting that Arnold found himself in, why and how he might have turned sides, and the sad life that followed. The writing is very good, exciting and informative, with no passages that seem to drag or slow the story. A very interesting look at a man who betrayed himself before he betrayed his country. 

Recommended for history readers especially readers of the Revolutionary War. The battle descriptions along with the politics are very well written and gave a better understanding about Arnold. Also for people who like books on complicated people, and for those who want to understand why people do the things they do. M.I.C.E really does explain quite a bit about human behavior.
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God Save Benedict Arnold by Jack Kelly was received directly from the publisher and I chose to review it.  I had not knowingly read this author before but history books or historical fiction books, I will always read.  Benedict Arnold almost every American can tell you was a "traitor."  most do not know why or when but we all know the name.  This book tells the whole story of Benedict, before, during, and after his treasonous act(s).  The author's writing style does not get boring either, things are written that sound interesting, and they do not bog down in minutae. If you, or someone you buy gifts for enjoys books about historical figures, give this one a read.

4 Stars
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Benedict Arnold was one of my favorite characters when I was teaching. As my students began to see patterns in how history is written to favors the "winners," his was the perfect example of how an American hero quickly became the villain. But Arnold's story is so much more complex than simply being a traitor. 

Jack Kelley's God Save Benedict Arnold is a wonderfully researched and lyrical narrative of this man's life. It's highly accessible to anyone and gives a complete and fair assessment of him. I'd recommend it to anyone, but especially to fellow American history teachers and students of the subject.

Special thanks to St. Martin's Press for giving me the opportunity to read an early copy of this book in exchange for a review through NetGalley.
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