The Fort Plain Museum will host “Behind the Scenes – Benedict Arnold: Hero Betrayed,” a virtual program presented by James Kirby Martin and Thomas Mercer, set for Monday, April 11th.
Selections from the new documentary Benedict Arnold: Hero Betrayed will be shown. James Kirby Martin, executive producer of the film and author of the book upon which it is based will present the historical context and Tom Mercer producer and script writer will talk about the making of this ground breaking cinematic documentary.
Martin is a nationally recognized scholar of Early American history, especially the era of the American Revolution, and he is also well known for his writings on various aspects of American military and social history. He received his B.A. degree from Hiram College (summa cum laude) and then earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He began his teaching career at Rutgers University, where he earned the rank of Professor of History and also served for a period as Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 1980, he moved to the University of Houston, having accepted the assignment of serving as Department Chair of History with the mandate to foster the development of a cutting edge program fully devoted to excellence in teaching and the production of high quality scholarship.
Martin helped found the Papers of Thomas Edison project at Rutgers University and for a few years was a member of its board of advisers. He also served on the advisory board of the Papers of William Livingston project. He was the general editor of a book series on the American Social Experience (New York University Press) and likewise was a consulting editor for a book series entitled Conversations with the Past (Brandywine Press). Martin is currently serving on the advisory board of editors of the Critical Historical Encounters book series sponsored by Oxford University Press. He has done consulting with some of the nation’s most eminent law firms in regard to the history of various consumer products, including alcohol and tobacco, and has both appeared on and advised on television programs aired by the History Channel and American Heroes Channel. He advises on historical issues with Talon Films of New York and has become involved in the development of screen plays designed to bring major historical events and personalities to movie audiences. Martin serves as historian adviser to the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Fort Plain Museum.
Tom Mercer grew up steeped in Revolutionary War history. As a youth he enjoyed riding his bicycle around the Saratoga Battlefield — a truly magical place on the bluffs overlooking the Hudson River. Typical family outings during childhood were visits to historic sites and museums all around the region where the northern campaign of the Revolution was fought. He and his mother shared a fascination with the paradox of Benedict Arnold, hero and traitor. Indeed, a frequent topic of dinner table conversation. If there was ever any doubt, his classmates got confirmation Tom Mercer was a history geek when he gave an award winning address about the Battle of Saratoga at his High School graduation.
Mercer studied film at Ithaca College where he graduated with a dual major in History and Politics. A twenty-year career in government gave way to a second career as an independent filmmaker. He wrote and directed the feature film Uncivil Liberties, a highly acclaimed political thriller, and several short films shown at festivals in the US and Europe.
To buy or rent Benedict Arnold: Hero Betrayed, click here.
This program will begin at 7 pm and will be held via Zoom. Registration is required and can be completed online.
I’m not so sure I would call Benedict Arnold a forgotten hero though he was a once fervent American patriot (for his own causes). I think he forgot his own “heroism” when he betrayed our cause of freedom and cowered back to England