“Treacherous Beauty fills an important gap in American history with its in-depth narrative of the treason of Benedict Arnold and his beautiful young wife, Peggy. This excellent book is also the story of a star-crossed love affair beyond anything that a playwright could imagine.”
—Arthur S. Lefkowitz, author of George Washington’s Indispensable Men
“Treacherous Beauty is history at its most engaging: familiar in its context, but surprising, even enlightening, in its detail. It is, in fact, surprising that those who care about America’s past have not been enlightened about Peggy Shippen before.”
—Eric Burns, author of Virtue, Valor, and Vanity
“At last, a serious work on one of the most fascinating and little known women in American history! Peggy Shippen was so much more that the wife of the famous traitor—she was a women with a foot in two worlds, an American whose life serves as a perfect illustration of the wild complexities of the Revolution. With Treacherous Beauty Mark Jacob and Stephen H. Case have done ample justice to the life and times of their subject with this fair-minded, well researched, and finely crafted biography, a gift to students of the Revolution eager to dig beneath the well worn surface of that conflict’s history.”
—James L. Nelson, author of Benedict Arnold’s Navy
"Chicago Tribune deputy metro editor Jacob and Case, an American Revolution Center board member, detail Peggy’s role as go-between and document her later life in London. They succeed in capturing the period atmosphere as they adroitly interweave military maneuvers with the shadowy machinations. The book also benefits from rarely studied correspondence by Peggy to her son Edward provided by her descendant Hugh Arnold." --Publishers Weekly
From the Inside Flap
Histories of the Revolutionary War have long honored heroines such as Betsy Ross, Abigail Adams, and Molly Pitcher. Now, more than two centuries later, comes the first biography of one of the war’s most remarkable women, a beautiful Philadelphia society girl named Peggy Shippen. While war was raging between England and its rebellious colonists, Peggy befriended a suave British officer and then married a crippled revolutionary general twice her age. She brought the two men together in a treasonous plot that nearly turned George Washington into a prisoner and changed the course of the war. Peggy Shippen was Mrs. Benedict Arnold.
After the conspiracy was exposed, Peggy managed to convince powerful men like Washington and Alexander Hamilton of her innocence. The Founding Fathers were handicapped by the common view that women lacked the sophistication for politics or warfare, much less treason. And Peggy took full advantage.
Peggy was to the American Revolution what the fictional Scarlett O’Hara was to the Civil War: a woman whose survival skills trumped all other values. Had she been a man, she might have been
arrested, tried, and executed. And she might have become famous. Instead, her role was minimized and she was allowed to recede into the background—with a generous British pension in hand.
In Treacherous Beauty, Mark Jacob and Stephen H. Case tell the true story of Peggy Shippen, a driving force in a conspiracy that came within an eyelashof dooming the American democracy.