No historical figure of 18th-century England has been more grossly misrepresented than the inventor of our favourite fast food. The stereotype is well known: an unscrupulous man of pleasure whose mistress, a courtesan, was murdered on the steps of the Admiralty, inside which her lover was carelessly mismanaging the War of American Independence. In fact, Martha Ray was not a courtesan but rather the Joan Sutherland of her day who was murdered by one of her unhinged admirers. Neither was the fourth Earl of Sandwich the philanderer he has long been made out to be. Lord of the Admiralty at the age of 25, and First Lord at 30, he displayed diplomatic powers and won from foreign statesmen the admiration and trust of his own countrymen. He was highly influential in the reform of the navy in the Seven Years War and a criticial player during the American Revolutions.
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Brilliantly written account of the 18th-century nobleman was a key player in British naval strategy during the War of Independence--and who invented our favorite fast food. The fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-92) is usually written off as the archetypal wicked aristocrat: a self-seeker who neglected his country's interest in the pursuit of the pleasures of the bedroom and the gaming table. Here, British naval historian Rodger- -drawing on a wide range of sources, including Sandwich's own letters and papers--attempts to go beyond this caricature by viewing his subject in the context of the realities of 18th-century party politics and naval warfare. His Sandwich emerges as an ambitious man with many interests and talents but little wealth--a man who consequently was distrusted by his own class and failed to achieve full scope for his powers. His beloved wife went insane, and the mistress he subsequently took was murdered. As First Sea Lord, Sandwich began a fundamental reform of the fleet, making use of seasoned timber and the latest technique of sheathing ships' bottoms with copper to improved speed--but the American Revolution interrupted these plans. Rodger argues that Sandwich's strategy in that war made sense in terms of contemporary presuppositions and the limitations of a Britain under attack from France and Spain: The 13 colonies were lost but Quebec and the West Indies were retained and, above all, the homeland was saved from invasion. Today, Sandwich is best remembered for his part in the revival and continued popularity of Handel's music--and for sandwiches. A pleasure to read--and offering new depth and insights into the political and social values of a critical epoch. (Illustrations) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
In this meticulously researched scholarly biography, Rodger ( The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy ) presents an interesting reassessment of the Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792). Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty from 1748-1751 and again from 1771-1782, Sandwich was unfairly maligned as an inept administrator who was responsible for Britain's naval defeats during the American Revolution, according to Rodger. He argues that Sandwich deserves credit for naval reform and for saving Canada, India and the West Indies as British colonies. The author also discounts Sandwich's reputation as immoral and as a gambler. Devoted to his wife until she became mentally ill, Sandwich then lived with his mistress, a singer, for 17 years until she was murdered by a crazed admirer. Lacking a family fortune, Sandwich was beset by financial worries, but gambled no more than any other 18th-century lord. We also learn that the action for which he is best known--putting meat between two pieces of bread--was likely to have taken place at his desk, not at the gaming table. Illustrations.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description W W Norton & Co Inc, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Like New. Brand new condition hardcover book in its also mint condition decorative dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 111116012
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