The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain’s Wars for America

Julie Flavell. Liveright, $35 (496p) ISBN 978-1-63149-061-3
In this brilliantly conceived and vividly written biography, historian Flavell (When London Was Capital of America) takes a fresh look at the family of Richard Admiral Lord Howe and Gen. William Howe, the brothers who commanded British forces in North America at the start of the Revolutionary War. Analyzing letters and diaries left behind by the women of the family, Flavell upends the popular conception of the aristocratic Howes as “inscrutable” and sheds light on the drawing-room politics of Georgian England. She details how Richard and William’s mother and aunt drew on connections to the royal court to help advance their military careers, and notes that their eldest sister, Caroline, assisted in Richard’s efforts to negotiate a peaceful compromise with Benjamin Franklin as tensions between England and the colonies mounted in 1774. After war broke out, the failure of British forces to rout the rebels led to allegations that the Howes were guilty of “treason or incompetence,” and Richard and William both gave up their commands in 1778. Flavell skillfully alternates vivid descriptions of overseas battles with developments in England, and brings new insights to William’s alleged affair with the “captivating Bostonian” Elizabeth Lloyd Loring. History buffs won’t want to miss this richly textured account. Illus. Agent: Katherine Flynn, Kneerim & Williams. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/14/2021
Release date: 07/20/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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