Summary: The Notorious Benedict Arnold tells us the story of the infamous traitor like you’ve never heard before. We all know that Benedict Arnold is known as the man that betrayed the American Colonies and ended up fighting for the British. But this biography written by Steve Sheinkin tells us so much more. We get to follow the life of Benedict Arnold from his early childhood days to his sad final days living as an outcast in England.
Strengths: One of the criteria for a good non-fiction book is the qualifications of the author. The source notes at the end of the book show that author Steve Sheinkin has quite an extensive knowledge and interest in Benedict Arnold, but of course this isn’t enough to qualify him to write this book. Sheinkins biography says that he used to write and edit history textbooks. His extensive background of writing and editing textbooks makes the facts of this book authentic. Another strength of the book is in the intended audience. This book was written with a younger audience in mind, and the author wrote this biography in a way early teens can not only understand, but can captivate them as well.
Connections to Textbook: This book shows us the life of Benedict Arnold, but only the first few chapters really focus on his childhood. The majority of the book focuses on his adult years. Nonetheless, you can see some interesting development in those early chapters. It starts with Benedict being away at school and receiving letters from his mother stating that the yellow fever had caught up to their family. Soon, he lost two of his sisters to the fever. It is then said that his father became a drunk and was thrown in jail as well. Benedict was forced to support is family at the age of 14. It seems that he cut through Havighursts stages at a young age, but still managed to develop fully despite the drawbacks of a rough pre-adolescence.
Sheinkin, S. (2010). The notorious Benedict Arnold. New York: Macmillan.