Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Arthur St. Clair: The Invisible Patriot

How do you celebrate Gehio's 6th anniversary? With a review of a book on my favorite frontier General. I wish it was a regular blog post vs a review but June was a busy month.

Arthur St. Clair: The Invisible Patriot Arthur St. Clair: The Invisible Patriot by R.W. Dick Phillips
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm very interested in the time period and the subject, so I was excited to find this book. I gave it one star only because I could not give it zero stars. I read through the beginning and was very disappointed. It doesn't appear to be researched well. Phillips goes to great lengths to inform us of St. Clairs lineage and great deeds in order to remind us he shouldn't only be known for his infamous defeat but the author gets loose and repetitious with the facts right off the bat. That didn't instill confidence. Another reviewer mentions the misleading blurb about St. Clair being "President when the U.S. Constitution and the Northwest Ordinance were drafted." and "was America’s first and last foreign-born President". This should read that he was "President of the Continental Congress"... of which there were 14 men, including John Hancock, from 1774 until 1788. The author also asserts that one of St Clair's ancestors built Newport Tower in a pre-Columbian voyage to the New World. That's a fringe theory that's been debunked many times over. A quick internet search shows that carbon dating & other 19th & 20th-century investigation of the mortar dates it to the mid-1600s. It was probably built by Benedict Arnold. No not THAT Arnold but an ancestor, the first Governor of Rhode Island. I thought that was a bit ironic. Stealing the glory of the ancestor of America's most infamous traitor and trying to give it to the ancestor of the General in charge of the worst American military defeat.

So I'm sorry Art, it was my hope...but this is not the modern bio we've been waiting for. Your legacy is still mostly St. Clair's Defeat with the footnote that you re-named Losantiville to Cincinnati. I suppose it's better to be remembered for something than nothing at all.

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