A gripping account of Benedict Arnold's tragic march on Fort Quebec.
In June 1775, Benedict Arnold-having not yet turned traitor, and, indeed, lionized as one of the 13 colonies' great military hopes-proposed an invasion of Quebec. He thought a successful attack might dispose King George to redress the colonists' grievances. With General Washington's approval, Arnold gathered together a group of soldiers and headed north. Desjardin (These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory) describes the grueling expedition. The soldiers quickly ran low on food, and, among other disasters, a canoe was ripped apart by a tree branch, almost costing half the men their lives. Eventually, some of the troops made it to Canada, and after backup arrived, they attacked Quebec Though the attempt was unsuccessful and Arnold was wounded, he was praised for simply having made it from Maine to Canada. Desjardin's account is able, though at times melodramatic ("Thousands of issues must have weighed heavily upon Arnold's mind") and cute (two centuries before Dr. Atkins, Arnold's men "discovered the weight-loss capacities" of low-carb eating). Perhaps the most important section is the epilogue, in which Desjardin suggests that a successful attack on Quebec might actually have hampered the fight for American independence. (Jan. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.