Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nothing Bad to Say about Benedict Arnold

A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity
by Ethan Allen

A seminal work in U.S. patriotism, Ethan Allen's Narrative rings with vibrant ardor for Liberty and the nascent United States. He despises England -- as a country -- as much as he loves the cause of American freedom. Though not without its faults, Allen's tale sheds light on the fervent philosophy which supported many who supported the cause of the Colonies against the British. While he elides over his breaking parole, and losing a command -- he is, after all, quite the egotist -- his fierce determination to maintain his poise while in captivity, and his cunning (no doubt self-serving) tales of oneupsmanship while in gaol both ring true and join a wide literature of American derring-do and cleverness under pressure. His declartion of francophilia is also part and parcel of his times. 150 words for a 124 page book? (I have the American Experience Series edition) Allen's book serves a good immersion in the zeitgeist of the Revolutionary War. And -- even better for a prospective student -- it is fast-paced; a quick read. Beware his egotism, though every factual matter which could be checked has held up under scrutiny. Beware too his naturalistic view of religion, if such be a bugbear for you. But do bathe in Liberty taken at its flood by this true American hero.

(This is my original quickie review for Visual Bookshelf; I've copied over those reviews here, for reasons I may blog about in the future...)

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