Surviving Damnation [An Historical Novel] By R.W. “Ben” Benoit, Ph.D.

Foreword by Yvon Cyr: I have just finished reading this excellent publication which, I am certain, will become one of the most treasured books I have in my extensive Acadian-Cajun personal library! The book is the combination fictional/historical story of the Acadians, including their cruel deportation in 1755. If you have any Acadian-Cajun ancestry-blood in you, you merely have to replace the name of “Joseph Benoit” with that of your own ancestor, to re-live the experience of the early Acadians. Needless to say, this is a ‘must-have’ book which I highly recommend to everyone.

Message received from Ben Benoit on September 9, 2008: “Yvon, just got this news from actress friend, Tiffany Bordelon Walsh in Hollywood and wanted to share with you…perhaps material in one of your appreciated news letters or website.”

To Acadians/Cajuns especially those of Benoit families.

Exciting news! The best selling historical fiction, ‘Surviving Damnation’, featuring a typical Acadian family, Les Benoit, deported from Nova Scotia in 1755 in the Grand Derangement and written by R.W. “BEN” BENOIT PH.D., is being submitted to Clint Eastwood as a possible director of a full length film similar to his recent major production of Flags Of Our Fathers. I thought you might like to know what it’s about if and when it comes to a theatre near you. Although the book’s title may change in film, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, hang on to your signed copy. It might be worth more than you know!
If you don’t have a copy and are interested in having a signed copy of Surviving Damnation you may order one at the book’s web site: This web site also has a complete description of the book and an excerpt passage.
Or you may write me at [email protected] and I’ll arrange to have one sent to you. They sell for $18.00. plus shipping of $4.00. A US check from Canada would be appreciated ($18,00 US and shipping $6.00 US for total of $24.00 US). Be sure to indicate to whom you’d like it signed.

See you at the movies! It would be nice if it were to happen, that it come out in time for the Congres Mondial Acadien in 2009.

Ben Benoit

This is the little known but well documented story of eighteenth century Acadians. These early North American colonists lived in what is now Nova Scotia. Acadian lives were tragically disrupted in 1755 during what may well be the most shameful event of Crimes Against Humanity on this continent. In full view of the Acadians being prodded aboard ships, their modest homes, crops and livestock were burned behind them to assure a point of no return.

The author shadows his ancestors as they were ruthlessly deported from Acadia and randomly sent into exile for refusing to become English subjects. Benoit’s family was among the 13,000 who were scattered to unwelcoming English colonies along the Atlantic seacoast, to distant islands and foreign countries. Some of his family was unloaded in Boston. From there they walked to Montreal in hopes of rediscovering life as in Acadia. Others went south to Louisiana where the Acadian culture became today’s Cajun lifestyle. This is the story romanticized by the poet Longfellow in his Evangeline.


When Ben became an avid student of Genealogy, he discovered his Acadian roots by tracing his family history back to Martin Benoist. Born in France in 1643, Martin sailed to the New World and landed in Acadia (Nova Scotia). Of the ten generations Ben discovered in his branch of Benoists, Joseph (b. 1732), a grandson of Martin, had by far the most compelling life story, having lived through a genocidal history.

There were many Benoits, but he definitely was not interested in “name gathering” or in becoming a “database expert” but in writing for posterity. He was not satisfied in merely gathering raw facts of births, marriages and deaths, but in researching the times and places in which ancestors lived and/or the historical events in which they might have been involved.


On September 8, 1755, Joseph Benoit finally had a turn in the fenced yard behind the little white church of Grand-Pré. The church’s doors and windows had been boarded up. The male population of the village had been tricked into gathering inside to hear an official proclamation suspected of having something to do with Acadians not willing to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown of England. But instead of spending an anticipated couple of hours in church listening to English Lieutenant Winslow explain the terms of the proclamation, they were now on the fourth day of their captivity. The women of the village pleaded with the Lieutenant to allow at least a few men at a time out into the yard for a breath of fresh air, food and news from the outside.

Women congregated there in the mornings in hopes of seeing their man outside. Anne Thibodeau, Joseph’s fiancée, had come everyday. Finally she saw him outside and managed to speak to him through the fence.

“I’m so happy to see you.” she said, trying to sound upbeat.

“Il faut bien, I have no choice. But we have no idea what’s going on. It’s hell in there. I’m even having the blasphemous idea of giving in and signing the damn Oath.”

“Oh, Joseph, that’s not like you…”

He interrupted her when he saw the ships anchored in the harbor a short distance away. “Rumors are that the English are not giving us another chance. They’ve had enough of our neutrality. It’s inconceivable, but some women are beginning to pack their things. They think tomorrow we are going to get loaded on the ships.”

“That’s crazy. Impossible. In any case, please come again tomorrow.” He reached out through the fence and kissed her as a soldier grabbed a hold of his arm to usher him back inside.

Click here for details of the “BENOIT Family Genealogy” CD-ROM, now available!

Click here to order an “autographed” copy of the book, from Ben. And tell him I sent ya!