Spoils of War: A Trans-Atlantic Tale

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9780955091506: Spoils of War: A Trans-Atlantic Tale

This fascinating autobiography tells of the author-playwright Peter Rowley's transatlantic life and the tragedies involving his two English half-brothers, John and George. The Rowleys were a wealthy family from Huntingdonshire, now part of Cambridgeshire, who became engulfed by the Second World War. The oldest brother, John, suffered a breakdown at Dunquerque, was jilted by his girl friend, attempted suicide, and became incarcerated in an asylum. But he was the heir, and soon-to-be Lord of the Manor of St. Neots, Huntingdonshire, and Morcott, Rutland. George remained in one of the manor houses. The youngest sibling, Peter, was taken to America in the last convoy of the European part of the War. As an eleven-year-old he describes his impressions of friendly Midwesterners. His step-father, a domineering American Air Force colonel, moves Peter and his mother to an Alabama air base commanded by a general who wanted to drop a nuclear bomb on Moscow. There are adventures in a boarding school in North Carolina, notable for its hypocrisy and repressed sexuality and an account of his undergraduate years at Princeton - described as a glorified prep school - including brief glimpses of Donald Rumsfeld, Ralph Nader, and Audrey Hepburn. After three years Peter left Princeton and began a newspaper career for several years in New England and London. Gradually the truth about John's life in a sanatorium emerges, as the author resumes living in the U.K. He learns of the strange private life of his other half-brother, George. He returns to America. There are accounts of the author's personal dilemma during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, a trip to Hollywood including a night at Jane Wyatt's house and a lunch at a successful producer's Bel Air mansion. There are also vignettes of old society New York. As part of the author's search for the meaning of life there is a portrayal of South Africa during the apartheid era, including interviews with two leading figures who were subsequently assassinated by the South African secret police. Simultaneously Peter attempts to bring order to his English family's existence. There are lawsuits and a dramatic meeting with his insane relation who the author had not seen for 28 years. Peter becomes involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement, becoming a supporter of Dan Berrigan, the priest who burns draft board files. Before going to jail Berrigan marries Peter to a beautiful Hungarian, Terez, also a refugee from war. The book ends with the couple trying to arrange for a well-known psychiatrist in London to treat the tragic spoil of war, Second Lieutenant John Rowley of The Priory sanatorium in west London.

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About the Author:

The author, Peter Rowley, is a well-known reviewer, writer and playwright. Books include New Gods in America (McKay), 1971; Ken Rosewall: Twenty Years at the Top (Putnam and Cassell), 1976; The Chronicles of the Rowleys (HLHS), 1995, and Spoils of War: A Trans-Atlantic Tale (Fydell), 2005. His play, God Save England, was performed at the Nat Horne Theatre in New York City in 1993 and at the Priory Centre in St. Neots, England. Mr. Rowley has 128 published reviews for various publications including the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Nation and Christian Century. He has written 46 articles for various publications including Mademoiselle, The Nation, New Statesman, New Republic, The Spectator and Catholic Digest. As a photographer, a limited number of Mr. Rowley's photos have appeared in books and magazines including one in the Wimbledon Tennis Museum.


A devastating commentary on the decline of the English upper class.

--Warren Adler, author of The War of the Roses

Spoils of War is a brilliant insight in, to coin a phrase, how the other half lived. The Rowleys are never, ever dull. Mr. Rowley is sometimes brutally honest, not only about his family, but about himself...witty and always self-deprecating...a dramatic meeting with an insane relation who he had not seen for 28 years.

--Veronica Webb, Town Crier (Cambridgeshire)

This lively 183-page autobiography features colorful characters that might have strayed from the pages of Evelyn Waugh...a rich contrast between Peter's globe-trotting lifestyle and the eccentricities of the English landowning class, but, through it all, the author's love for his endearing, and often infuriating, relatives shines through.

--Brian Martin, Rutland and Stamford Mercury (U.K.)

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Peter Rowley
Published by Fydell Press (2005)
ISBN 10: 0955091500 ISBN 13: 9780955091506
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Fydell Press, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110955091500

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