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Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict…
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Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775 (utgåvan 2007)

av Thomas A. Desjardin (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
912240,342 (3.59)2
In September 1775, eleven hundred soldiers boarded ships in Newburyport, bound for the Maine wilderness. They were American colonists who had volunteered for a secret mission to paddle and march nearly two hundred miles through some of the wildest country in the colonies and seize the fortress city of Quebec, the last British stronghold in Canada. The march, under the command of Colonel Benedict Arnold, proved to be a tragic journey. Before they reached the outskirts of Quebec, hundreds died from hypothermia, drowning, small pox, lightning strikes, exposure, and starvation. The survivors ate dogs, shoes, clothing, leather, cartridge boxes, shaving soap, and lip salve. Their trek toward Quebec was nearly twice the length shown on their maps. In the midst of the journey, the most unlikely of events befell them: a hurricane. The rains fell in such torrents that their boats floated off or sunk, taking their meager provisions along, and then it began to snow. The men woke up frozen in their tattered clothing. One third of the force deserted, returning to Massachusetts. Of those remaining, more than four hundred were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Finally, in the midst of a raging blizzard, those remaining attacked Quebec. In the assault, their wet muskets failed to fire. Undaunted, they overtook the first of two barricades and pressed on toward the other, nearly taking Canada from the British. Demonstrating Benedict Arnold's prowess as a military strategist, the attack on Quebec accomplished another goal for the colonial army: It forced the British to commit thousands of troops to Canada, subsequently weakening the British hand against George Washington. A great military history about the early days of the American Revolution, "Through a Howling Wilderness" is also a timeless adventure narrative that tells of heroic acts, men pitted against nature's fury, and a fledgling nation's fight against a tyrannical oppressor.… (mer)
Medlem:JYF_Library
Titel:Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775
Författare:Thomas A. Desjardin (Författare)
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2007), Edition: 1st, 256 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:YVC, American Revolution, Benedict Arnold, Treason

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Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775 av Thomas A. Desjardin

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The other excellent review of this book states that reading the details of the expedition "can be a bit tedious," an opinion with which I would heartily agree. I don't think it was only the level of detail that got me down. It was that the expedition was something of a disaster from beginning to end. Page after page of how terrible the conditions were, how much the men were suffering, how one thing after another went wrong, how even the things that seemed to go right ended up going wrong. The final chapter, the epilogue, was the best chapter of the book. The information presented in that chapter was clear and concise, and moved right along with a narrative flow that seemed totally at odds with all the previous chapters. Made me wonder if the author was as anxious to be done with the book as I was. ( )
  y2pk | May 28, 2015 |
After having read Thomas A. Desjardin’s Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine, a book about the 20th Maine Infantry under Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War, I was excited to find that he had also written a book about Benedict Arnold’s expedition into Canada in 1775.

This is a rather small book which proves to be an easy read. Mr. Desjardin holds a position as a Historic Site Specialist for the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, and he shows his expertise with his descriptions of not only the personalities involved in the expedition and battle, but also his knowledge of the terrain that they encountered.

As he did with Stand Firm, Desjardin has put out a very well researched (maybe overly, considering it is only 216 pages long and has 371 notes and over sixty references in the bibliography) book. The book is divided into eleven chapters, with an epilog. Mr. Desjardin begins with a description of the experiences of Simon Fobes, a young soldier from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and his homecoming. “Simon Fobes was home from the war and had a tale to tell of one of the greatest military expeditions in American history.”(1) Mr. Desjardins then goes on to give a brief history of the city of Quebec and the possibility of Quebec becoming the “fourteenth colony,” since its status was, like the other thirteen, a North American colony under British rule.(2)

The next four chapters all deal with the expedition to Quebec, and the last three with the battle itself and the return trip. Mr. Desjardins quotes, quite extensively, Kenneth Roberts’ 1938 book March to Quebec: Journals of the Members of Arnold’s Expedition which, as its title states, was written using the surviving journals of the members of the expedition. The journals contained in the Roberts book cover most of the existing knowledge of the march to and from the battle for Quebec. Mr. Desjardin’s book weaves those same journals into a narrative that is complete with the inaccuracies and exaggerations one would expect in the personal journal of a soldier, many of which were expanded upon after returning home.

While the description of the battle is excellent, the description of the expedition to and from Quebec can be a bit tedious – especially to someone who is not really interested in how an army got to a battle, and then home from it, but whose interest is the battle itself. However, in this particular case, the expedition, based on the information gleaned from the journals, is especially informative.

For me the high point of this book is the Epilog – “America’s Hannibal” – in which Mr. Desjardin states that the failure to capture Quebec actually helped with the winning of the Revolutionary War. If Benedict Arnold had not been such a threat to Quebec during the first year of the war, the forces that England diverted in response to his threat might have been sent, instead, to Boston or New York, making it much harder for General Washington to have succeeded.(3) Arnold’s attempt to capture Quebec helped lead the British forces under General John Burgoyne into a trap at Saratoga almost two years later. Following the Battle of Saratoga General Burgoyne praised Arnold as “instrumental in the colonial victory,”(4) and Dr. James Warren, in a letter to Samuel Adams stated “Arnold has made a march that may be compared to Hannibal’s or Xenophon’s.”(5)

The final part of the epilog deals briefly with Arnold’s anger with those he felt were trying to damage his reputation. Because of this anger Arnold plotted with Major John Andre to turn over West Point to the British. After narrowly escaping arrest by George Washington and his flight to the security of the British lines, this act of treason was rewarded by a commission in the British army and a payment of 10,000 pounds sterling (An interesting account of the execution of Major Andre for his part in this treasonous activity is The Execution of Major Andre by John Evangelist Walsh). At this time Arnold moved to London, and later returned to Virginia to lead British troops against the colonists there and in his home state of Connecticut. After a four year stay in New Brunswick, Canada, Arnold returned to England where he died in 1801.(6)

Notes:
1.Thomas A. Desjardin, Through A Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold’s March to Quebec, 1775, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2006), 2.
2. Ibid., 5.
3. Ibid., 197.
4. Ibid. 198.
5. Ibid., 189.
6. Ibid., 199.

Reference:
Desjardin, Thomas A., Through A Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold’s March to Quebec, 1775, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2006.
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In September 1775, eleven hundred soldiers boarded ships in Newburyport, bound for the Maine wilderness. They were American colonists who had volunteered for a secret mission to paddle and march nearly two hundred miles through some of the wildest country in the colonies and seize the fortress city of Quebec, the last British stronghold in Canada. The march, under the command of Colonel Benedict Arnold, proved to be a tragic journey. Before they reached the outskirts of Quebec, hundreds died from hypothermia, drowning, small pox, lightning strikes, exposure, and starvation. The survivors ate dogs, shoes, clothing, leather, cartridge boxes, shaving soap, and lip salve. Their trek toward Quebec was nearly twice the length shown on their maps. In the midst of the journey, the most unlikely of events befell them: a hurricane. The rains fell in such torrents that their boats floated off or sunk, taking their meager provisions along, and then it began to snow. The men woke up frozen in their tattered clothing. One third of the force deserted, returning to Massachusetts. Of those remaining, more than four hundred were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Finally, in the midst of a raging blizzard, those remaining attacked Quebec. In the assault, their wet muskets failed to fire. Undaunted, they overtook the first of two barricades and pressed on toward the other, nearly taking Canada from the British. Demonstrating Benedict Arnold's prowess as a military strategist, the attack on Quebec accomplished another goal for the colonial army: It forced the British to commit thousands of troops to Canada, subsequently weakening the British hand against George Washington. A great military history about the early days of the American Revolution, "Through a Howling Wilderness" is also a timeless adventure narrative that tells of heroic acts, men pitted against nature's fury, and a fledgling nation's fight against a tyrannical oppressor.

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