Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Nathaniel Philbrick

Narrated By: Scott Brick

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: May 2016

Duration: 13 hours 19 minutes


From the New York Times bestselling author of In The Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, and In the Hurricane's Eye comes a surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution, and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.

'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

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

In September 1776, the vulnerable Continental Army under an unsure George Washington (who had never commanded a large force in battle) evacuates New York after a devastating defeat by the British Army. Three weeks later, near the Canadian border, one of his favorite generals, Benedict Arnold, miraculously succeeds in postponing the British naval advance down Lake Champlain that might have ended the war. Four years later, as the book ends, Washington has vanquished his demons and Arnold has fled to the enemy after a foiled attempt to surrender the American fortress at West Point to the British. After four years of war, America is forced to realize that the real threat to its liberties might not come from without but from within.

Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of Washington and Arnold, who is an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion. As a country wary of tyrants suddenly must figure out how it should be led, Washington’s unmatched ability to rise above the petty politics of his time enables him to win the war that really matters.


  • Eric Dahlstrom

    I didn't know much about the circumstances that led Benedict Arnold to betray his country. This book was a delight to listen to and opened my eyes to the temptations and motivations of a very complex, yet troubled figure in American history. This book would appeal to any history buff, particularly one interested in the American Revolution. The narrator, Scott Brick, is excellent and makes a very good book even more entertaining. If you liked Nathaniel Philbrick's other books, you'll undoubtedly like Valiant Ambition as well.

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

by Nathaniel Philbrick

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Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, Nathaniel Philbrick