Join us for an Author Talk with historian Joyce Lee Malcolm as she discusses her just-released book The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold.
Proud and talented, history now remembers this conflicted man solely through the lens of his last desperate act of treason. Yet the fall of Benedict Arnold remains one of the Revolutionary period’s great puzzles. Why did a brilliant military commander, who repeatedly risked his life fighting the British, who was grievously injured in the line of duty, and fell into debt personally funding his own troops, ultimately became a traitor to the patriot cause?
Joyce Lee Malcolm unravels the man behind the myth and gives us a portrait of the true Arnold and his world. There was his dramatic victory against the British at Saratoga in 1777 and his troubled childhood in a pre-revolutionary America beset with class tension and economic instability. We witness his brilliant wartime military exploits and learn of his contentious relationship with a newly formed and fractious Congress, fearful of powerful military leaders, like Arnold, who could threaten the nation’s fragile democracy.
Throughout, Malcolm weaves in portraits of Arnold’s great allies, George Washington, General Schuyler, his beautiful and beloved wife Peggy Shippen, and others, as well as his unrelenting enemy John Adams, British General Clinton, and master spy John Andre.
Dr. Joyce Lee Malcolm is an historian and constitutional scholar specializing in British and colonial American History. She is the Patrick Henry Professor of Constitutional Law and the Second Amendment at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. She has previously taught at Princeton University and Cambridge University. She has written many books and articles on the Second Amendment and individual rights.
This program is co-sponsored by the Library, Books on the Common, Keeler Tavern Museum, Ridgefield Historical Society and the Drum Hill Chapter of the DAR with special thanks to West Lane Inn and Nutmeg Livery.
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