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Rabble in Arms Paperback – January 1, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 586 pages
  • Publisher: Down East Books; As edition (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892723866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892723867
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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I first read this book, along with all the other books this author wrote, back in 1960 and 1961 and wrote a term paper on this author's works. Book reviews contemporary with the writing of Kenneth Roberts' novels noted that there was more history packed into each of his novels than in an entire college course or two. The book describes actual historical events through the eyes of several colorful fictional characters. This novel describes the birth of the United States Navy, where, in 1776, the American Colonists under command of General Benedict Arnold built a fleet of ships in Skenesborough (now Whitehall) at the foot of Lake Champlain. It describes the subsequent battle of Valcour Island, where this tiny fleet of ships took on a much larger British force sailing south on Lake Champlain enroute from Canada to Albany. Although the American Fleet was eventually dispersed, this first US Navy successfully delayed the British by a year in their march to the south. This year allowed the Americans to recruit a large enough army to defeat Burgoyne's British Army at Saratoga. This book tells the stories of Jennie (or Jane) McCrea's massacre by the indian allies of the British, the use of the story of her massacre to encourage enlistments throughout New York and New England, the massing of Rebel forces at Saratoga, and the defeat of General Burgoyne's Army at Saratoga. It also covers to a degree the battle of Oriskany, which halted the advance of Col. Barry St. Leger who was advancing down the Mohawk Valley from the west, with the intent to join forces with Burgoyne at Albany. During one winter, it delves into the lives of the western Indians who allied themselves with the British. It does all this in a very entertaining way.Read more ›
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By A Customer on February 29, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rabble in Arms is wonderful, and Kenneth Roberts, in only his second novel, demonstrates an amazing command of the medium. The author's keen appreciation of the historical context is critical to the novel's content, but it is his skill at developing characters, fictional and historical, that gives the book its great vitality.
Comparing Rabble in Arms to Arundel misses the point. They are, for all their shared themes and characters, different books. Simply put, Peter Merrill's voice and perspective in this novel differ in many respects from those of Steven Nason in Arundel. Cap Huff, who returns as the errant knight, is integral: he is to Roberts as Falstaff is to Shakepeare. I do recommend reading Arundel first, since you will derive extra benefit from the character development that has already taken place in the first installment of this series.
Rabble in Arms is another great work by a very talented and prolific author. Perhaps Roberts' sympathetic treatment of Benedict Arnold and his ambivalence concerning patriotism and loyalty have kept his work out of the classroom. Whatever the reasons, it is tragic that Roberts and his novels are not better known. They deserve to be widely read.
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Format: Paperback
I have read "Rabble In Arms" several times and have liked it better each time I (re)-read it. Many years ago as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy I wrote a paper about the naval battle of Valcour Island, fought by the Continental northern army under Benedict Arnold against the British on October 11, 1776. While Arnold's small fleet was defeated and almost totally wiped out, the strategic importance of the battle cannot be overstated. This is because Arnold succeeded in forcing the British to forego until 1777 their plan of moving down Lake Champlain and Lake George to link up with another force moving up the Hudson, cutting New England off from the rest of the Colonies. When the British did move south in 1777, they were defeated and forced to surrender at the Battle of Saratoga, and it was this battle that convinced the French to join with the Revolutionary forces to fight against the British. Kenneth Roberts' history is exact, and in fact his researches made clear some very fundimental but unknown facts about the Battle of Valcour Island. This is an outstanding book!
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Format: Paperback
Having first read this book 30 years ago, I was pleased to discover I loved it even more the second time around. Funny, moving, romantic, and historically accurate, Rabble in Arms reveals the political intrigue and pettiness that characterized the Continental Congress, derailed Benedict Arnold's military career, and led (in part) to his treason. I recommend first reading Robert's Arundel, which introduces several of the major characters of Rabble in Arms, and details Arnold's march to Quebec through the wilds of Maine and his assualt on the walled city.
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Format: Paperback
I'm here buying this book and Arundel for a friend.
Having read (insatiably) the entire series last winter, I visited the Saratoga battlefield a few weeks ago and felt sorry for the other tourists who had not read these books - Rabble in Arms in particular. To see the actual gun emplacements overlooking the Hudson and the road to Albany, artifacts and dioramas of the battles, and in particular the "Boot Monument" - the statue of a boot (symbolizing his injury?), erected a hundred years ago in honor of the unnamed Benedict Arnold "The greatest general of the Revolution" - greatly enhanced the experience of the series, and vice-versa. I was surprised that the otherwise well-informed guide at the Schuyler house had never heard of this book! Perhaps I should buy him a copy too.
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