Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Quest for Glory: Major General Robert Howe & the American Revolution

Okay, I know this is outside of my norm of fiction reviews, but I had a good reason for reading this book.  I've been working on my and my husband's family ancestry for a little while now.  While working on my hubby's ancestry one night, I came across an ancestor of his by the name of Major General Robert Howe.  I was curious, so I Googled the Major General's name to see what would come up.  This book was one of the results.  I thought how interesting it was to find a book written about an ancestor (even though it wasn't mine) so I purchased the book to see what I could learn about said ancestor.

While the book is a factual account of Major General Robert Howe's military career during the American Revolution, it is written in a way that is almost story-like.  There were a few parts that made my eyes tend to drift downward like I was back in History class, but for the most part ... it was pretty decent.

I was a little disappointed that very little was written about the personal side of his life.  I'm sure that's in a separate book somewhere, seeing as how he was depicted as a great womanizer.  The only chapter that dealt with his personal side was the first chapter as it recounted how the Major General came to be.  And, yes, I do realize that this book was mainly written to focus on his military career, but a little spice sure would've livened up the recipe ... if ya know what I mean ... =)

For those that don't know, Major General Robert Howe was born in North Carolina.  He is the only Major General to have ever come from that state.  The family he was born into was very wealthy and he inherited it all.  Unfortunately, he squandered away his fortune and lived the remainder of his life in poverty and scrounging to pay off debts (in several states).  It was even suggested that "Bob" starved his wife and children to have money for the start up of his political, and ultimately his military, career.

Because of his fondness for the fairer sex, "Bob" and his wife became legally separated.  The children stayed with her.  Divorce was non-existent at the time, so that wasn't an option for either of them.

From what little I've read of the Major General's private life, I'm not too fond of the man.  I mean, seriously ... practically starving your wife and kids just so you can further advance your career?  He sounded like a pompous arrogant jerk to me.

But, then comes the story of his military career ... believe me when I say, this man had it rough.  Nobody listened to his intellegence regarding the British army, he rarely received the supplies he needed for ample support of his troops and he was often passed over and ignored for assignments he requested.  According to the book, most of Robert's superiors thought highly of him, including the infamous General George Washington whom Major General Robert Howe served under for several years.  So the fact that they dismissed his requests for transfers made no sense to me.  Why wouldn't you want to keep your strongest soldier happy?

Regardless of the dismissive attitude and aggravations of his tenure in the military, Major General Robert Howe served eight years as an American Revolutionary soldier with a desire to succeed and an unwillingness to quit.  He had stamina and drive ... and for that, I cannot be upset with him.

He was intelligent, spoke well, commanded well and was very resourceful (he utilitzed British spies during the Revolution).  He had his faults: womanizer, bad financier of his money and his penmanship was horrendous ... but with Major General Robert Howe, his exemplary service in the Revolution absolved him of his faults.

Overall, I've learned a lot about the character of my husband's ancestor.  While I probably won't read the book EVER again, I am glad to have read it at least once.


Happy Reading All! =)

1 comment:

  1. First-time visitor.

    I am stopping from Cym Lowell's Book Review Party.

    Stop by mine if you like.



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