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American history
Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution
 
 
Author
Joel Richard Paul.
Publisher Riverhead  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.25 x 5.4 x 1 inches
ISBN 9781594484872
Pages/Publication Date 405/2010
Daedalus Item Code 20245
This item is not available.
Description
Silas Deane was a Connecticut merchant and delegate to the Continental Congress as the American colonies struggled to break with England. Caron de Beaumarchais was a successful playwright who wrote The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. And the flamboyant and mysterious Chevalier d'Eon—officer, diplomat, and sometime spy—was the talk of London and Paris, where people speculated as to whether he was a man or a woman. All three played vital roles in securing French support for American independence. Here is Revolution-era history in all of its juicy, lurid glory, with fascinating characters, period detail, and a vivid sense of place.

"Unlikely Allies is a nonfiction account, but it reads like a Monty Python movie. You can tell it's nonfiction, though, because the bad guys prosper and most of the good characters stop having fun. Soon, it no longer mattered whether d'Eon was male or female. S/he ended up an uncared-for old person. Beaumarchais became quite rich, but guess what? His mansion was just a few blocks from the Bastille. He loved the French Revolution, but it didn't love him back. And poor Silas Deane, who came into this whole enterprise as a wealthy, cheerful, handsome businessman with a nice family, lost everything—most heartbreakingly the goodwill of his former friends Ben Franklin, George Washington and John Jay. Deane was, in fact, probably murdered by a spy, and Lee, with all his vile ways, died a rich man. How they sinned, those revolutionaries we were taught to revere! What gigantic whoppers they told. (I was especially disillusioned by Tom Paine.) They lied and cheated and routinely went back on their word. They had a pretty good time, though, even Arthur Lee, until they got old and sick and died. The wonder is, our great country came out of such undignified scheming."—Washington Post

 
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