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The Howe Dynasty

The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain's Wars for America

In December 1774, Benjamin Franklin met Caroline Howe, the sister of British General Sir William Howe and Richard Admiral Lord Howe, in a London drawing room for “half a dozen Games of Chess.” But as historian Julie Flavell reveals, these meetings were about much more than board games: they were cover for a last-ditch attempt to forestall the outbreak of the American War of Independence. Aware that the distinguished Howe family, both the men and the women, have been known solely for the military exploits of the brothers, Flavell investigated the letters of Caroline Howe. Using revelatory documents and this correspondence, The Howe Dynasty provides a groundbreaking reinterpretation of one of England’s most famous military families across four wars.

Flavell traces the Howes' roots to modest beginnings at Langar Hall in rural Nottinghamshire and highlights the Georgian phenomenon of the politically involved aristocratic woman. In fact, the early careers of the brothers can be credited not to the maneuverings of their father, but to those of their aunt, the savvy Mary Herbert Countess Pembroke. When eldest sister Caroline came of age during the reign of King George III, she too used her intimacy with the royal inner circle to promote her brothers, moving smoothly between a straitlaced court and an increasingly scandalous London high life.

With genuine suspense, Flavell skillfully recounts the most notable episodes of the brothers’ military campaigns — but Britain’s desperate battles to guard its most vaunted colonial possession are told in tandem with London parlor-room intrigues, where Caroline bravely fought to protect the Howe reputation in a gossipy aristocratic milieu. A riveting narrative and long overdue reassessment of the entire family, The Howe Dynasty forces us to reimagine the Revolutionary War in ways that would have been previously inconceivable.

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Product Details

Recommended Age Adults
Author Julie Flavell
ISBN 1631490613
Publication Date Jul 20, 2021
Publisher Liveright
Language English