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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dark Eagle


It was a very hot July day and we were on a vacation trip to Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Heading north though the beautiful Hudson River Valley we made a stop to examine a famous American battlefield. It was tramping through a wooded area that I came upon an unusual monument.   The monument is dedicated to “the most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army” though he is not mentioned by name.   Surely he was wounded though as we see a bullet hole in the boot. His name was……?


The Indians called him "Dark Eagle" out of respect for both his military genius, bravery and his ruthlessness. His men worshipped him as a hero. But as the legendary general of the Continental Army neared the pinnacle of success, things began to go wrong, drawing Benedict Arnold inexorably toward the greatest crime of the age, one that would forever make his name synonymous with the word "traitor". Meticulously researched and brilliantly rendered, Dark Eagle illuminates both sides of the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1780.

Author   John Ensor Harr traces Arnold's spectacular rise, culminating in his victory at Saratoga and his marriage to Peggy Shippen, the beautiful loyalist daughter of a prominent Philadelphia family, and Arnold's decline, culminating in his plan with Major John Andre and Peggy to betray Washington and deliver West Point to the British.

In the best of historical fiction Harr paints a  complete picture of one of the most despised men in American history. Factually accurate with believable dialogue to draw the reader into the story  makes for a really good read.  No attempt is made to justify Arnold's actions but understanding the circumstances and his personality that influenced him sheds a whole new light on a true story.   The one thing that, at least indirectly, Harr does is reinforce the realization that self-seeking politicians with very large egos are not just a modern day reality in 2016..... 


15 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

you had me totally stumped with this one

Arkansas Patti said...

I didn't have a clue but found the info interesting. Sounds like a book I'd enjoy as I know little about him except for his history making dastardly deed.

Karen @ away for the weekend said...

Very interesting! I'm going to take a look at the book

Bubba Muntzer said...

Nope. I even got some help when I tried to save the photo so I could enlarge it. Arnold's shoe? Arnold who? Arnold Eisenminger? Arnold McGillicuddy?

I'm not that up on American history and have to wonder why I've read more about a lot of European countries although your review makes me want to know this story not least because of that that knack you have for stringing together a series of breathtaking sentences. Thanks.

Michelle said...

Interesting and I may even have to read this book. I have only heard the traitor information about Mr. Arnold.

Valerie said...

I like these quizzes, even though I never know the answer. It's nice to be told, though.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And that last sentence is both reassuring and frightening.

Cynthia said...

I flunked the quiz this time. :-)

Anvilcloud said...

Seems like an interesting read.

Sarah Laurence said...

I love how you tie history to current events in this review! There is much to be learned from history. I wish Tr*mp would crack a book before blundering into politics.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

The right name popped into my mind, something to do with the boot, but I could not remember why. If this had been a jeopardy quiz I would not had pressed the timer, but would have given the right answer as a desperate guess if it had been a double jeopardy question.

Barrie said...

Interesting review! I especially loved the opening and ending. :) I'm actually reading a YA about this time period. Would be great to pair it with this book. Thank you for reviewing!

Should Fish More said...

TB
Completely unabout this post.

I read Bubba M. as well as you do. I've noticed something in the last year...and I'll put it in socialist/leninist terms: he's become rigid in dogma. We exchanged emails for some months, I told him a bit about my work. Then it suddenly stopped. I disagreed slightly with him on one of his posts and he referred to me as 'rip van winkle' just awoke from the 70's.
Anyway, I gave up at this point.
Dogma is dogma, just that. Only works if the population is less than 10.
You were correct in your last response to him.

I'm glad he's there and all that, and that position has to be out there. I guess it's just age, and the realization that there are colors of grey, as well as black and white.

Mike

Jenn Jilks said...

I find this type of book very creative. The author does the research, but fills in the blanks. Good work!

Mandy_Fish said...

Interesting. I haven't read any historical fiction in a while, and definitely not any American historical fiction (my interests draw largely to the European). Perhaps this would make for a nice change in reading...