Praise for The Howe Dynasty
“If real power is to be ‘in the room where it happened’, then the Howe family had it all and more. Its men and women were at the epicenter of 18th Century life: fighting, maneuvering, politicking, and never hesitating to place their unique stamp on the world. Julie Flavell not only brings the Howes to life, she makes us love them, scold them, forgive them, and ultimately root for every member to succeed. History is rarely such fun.”
— Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.
“William and Richard Howe were two of the most controversial British commanders during the American Revolution, presumably because they never believed the war was wise and came to believe it was unwinnable. Until now, historians have been unable to recover their role in the story because their correspondence was destroyed in a nineteenth-century fire. Julie Flavell has come close to doing so by exploring the vast correspondence of their formidable sister, Caroline Howe. The result is a highly readable record from inside the Howe family of the political and military story, told from a woman’s perspective. Flavell humanizes the Howes, and along the way allows us to watch as the emerging British Empire commits the greatest blunder in the history of British statecraft.”
—Joseph J. Ellis, author of American Dialogue: The Founders and Us.
“An extraordinary book that gives us unique insight into the British context of the American Revolution, Julie Flavell’s The Howe Dynasty brilliantly analyses the extensive but hitherto largely overlooked correspondence of Caroline Howe (sister to Sir William and Lord Richard), in order to expose the roles that she and other powerful aristocratic women played in eighteenth-century political and military affairs. Innovatively combining attention to women’s drawing-room culture with military history, Flavell effectively defends the Howe brothers from critics, both their own contemporaries and modern historians. Scholars of the Revolution will find this book eye-opening, especially because of its revelations of women’s behind-the-scenes political maneuvering.”
—Mary Beth Norton, author of 1774: The Long Year of Revolution.
“The Howe Dynasty offers new insights into the Howe brothers, the most inscrutable of the British commanders in the American Revolutionary War. It does so through the previously unused correspondence of their sister Caroline who acted with her mother as her brothers’ representative in England. This is one of the best and most compelling accounts of the role and influence of women in eighteenth century Britain.”
—Andrew O’Shaughnessy, author of The Men Who Lost America.
“The waspish eighteenth-century diarist, Horace Walpole, declared the `whole race’ of Howes – an intensely private, iconic English military dynasty – as `undaunted as a rock, and as silent.’ The silence of the warrior Howe brothers – the fallen war hero, George; Admiral Richard; and General William – has been broken, thanks to Julie Flavell’s remarkable, brilliant collective biography. She uses the sparkling correspondence of the eminently sensible and well-connected Howe sister, Caroline, the great friend of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, to recreate the high society of Georgian Britain and the tense drama of two major wars in America, only one of which Britain won. Completely enthralling, wonderfully well written, and like Caroline Howe herself, wise and witty in equal measures, this story of extraordinary women and stoical driven men is a triumph, and even more important, a delight.”
—Trevor Burnard, Wilberforce Professor of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull.
“Julie Flavell’s new book, The Howe Dynasty, is a highly readable and impressively researched work that offers fresh perspectives on the War of American Independence and much else besides. She has a written the first ‘whole-family’ account of the Howes, which takes in the women as well as the more familiar figures of Admiral Richard, Viscount Howe and his brother William, respectively commanders of the Royal Navy and British army in the early stages of the war. I particularly liked the way in which she draws on an array of little-used sources to construct a compelling and riveting story. The Howe Dynasty makes an important contribution to the scholarship of the American Revolution, but its clear and beautifully written prose makes it a joy to read for everyone.”
—Stephen Conway, author of The British Isles and the American War of Independence.
“In this beautifully-written account Julie Flavell reminds us that the American Revolution was a trans-Atlantic event. She presents the well-known Howe brothers — Admiral Richard Howe and General William Howe — in a new light alongside their little-remembered sister, Caroline Howe whose role as an important political and diplomatic actor has been neglected by historians. In so doing she offers important insights into how family and gender shaped politics and war in the eighteenth century. This is an original, path-breaking, work and a great read.”
—Frank Cogliano, author of Revolutionary America, 1763-1815: A Political History