This book is for anyone who loves Revolutionary War history. Regardless of which side you might favor, the insights regarding the importance of petticoat diplomacy herein, will amaze and inform the reader. It is helpful for context to recognize that the Seven Years’ War was”Britain’s first true world war” as it affected The West indies, Africa, India and the Philippines as well as North America. And the Howe brothers — George, Richard and William — gained fame and rank in that fight. At its conclusion, Great Britain was a world power holding much of North America, including Canada, Florida and land east of the Mississippi as well as lands in the Caribbean and Africa, and major power over India.
Insights abound in the Howe Dynasty. For example, Flavell points out that the reason the colonial request for a government with powers akin to the British parliament had to be denied was that it threatened to subvert British liberty and enhance the power of the crown. It is revealing to read that both William Howe and General Burgoyne requested significantly more troops and the appointment of a viceroy to be responsible for the execution of a war complicated by its geographical extent and its distance from the command base across the ocean. The British recruited loyalists of all colors to fight the Colonials and it is “estimated that fifty-five thousand slaves absconded during the war” — as many as a third of them, women.
Not only were the Howes’ mother, wives and friends involved in backroom intrigue, protecting the family interest on all flanks, but “the growing readership and rising middle class meant that in the 1770s, there were more than 140 newspapers, magazines and periodicals in circulation, apportioning blame or praise for wartime events.” The war was fought in coffee houses, drawing rooms and bedrooms and The Howe Dynasty takes its readers through them all. Extensive research pulls together a picture of events manipulated by the clever, the avaricious, the powerful and the powerless. And over all hovered the frustrations of geography, time and distance. This book is a fascinating read.
The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain’s Wars for America
by Julie Flavell; Liveright Publishing (2021)
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