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    When Britain Burned the White House: The 1814 Invasion of Washington (Paperback) By (author) Peter Snow

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    DescriptionAs heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. Shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political History Book of the Year Award 2014. In August 1814 the United States' army is defeated in battle by an invading force just outside Washington DC. The US president and his wife have just enough time to pack their belongings and escape from the White House before the enemy enters. The invaders tuck into the dinner they find still sitting on the dining-room table and then set fire to the place. 9/11 was not the first time the heartland of the United States was struck a devastating blow by outsiders. Two centuries earlier, Britain - now America's close friend, then its bitterest enemy - set Washington ablaze before turning its sights to Baltimore. In his compelling narrative style, Peter Snow recounts the fast-changing fortunes of both sides of this extraordinary confrontation, the outcome of which inspired the writing of the 'Star-Spangled Banner', America's national anthem. Using a wealth of material including eyewitness accounts, he also describes the colourful personalities on both sides of these spectacular events: Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, the cautious but immensely popular army commander Robert Ross, and sharp-eyed diarists James Scott and George Gleig. On the American side: beleaguered President James Madison, whose young nation is fighting the world's foremost military power, his wife Dolley, a model of courage and determination, military heroes such as Joshua Barney and Sam Smith, and flawed incompetents like Army Chief William Winder and War Secretary John Armstrong. When Britain Burned the White House highlights this unparalleled moment in American history, its far-reaching consequences for both sides and Britain's and America's decision never again to fight each other.


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  • Full bibliographic data for When Britain Burned the White House

    Title
    When Britain Burned the White House
    Subtitle
    The 1814 Invasion of Washington
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Peter Snow
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 320
    Width: 129 mm
    Height: 197 mm
    Thickness: 21 mm
    Weight: 244 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9781848546134
    ISBN 10: 1848546130
    Classifications

    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KBB
    BIC subject category V2: HBLL
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.4
    BIC E4L: WAR
    BIC time period qualifier V2: 3JH
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1DBK
    BIC subject category V2: HBJK
    BISAC V2.8: HIS036030, HIS036040, HIS037030
    BIC subject category V2: 1KBB, HBWF, 3JH, 1DBK
    DC23: 973.523
    Thema V1.0: NHWR, NHWF, NHK
    Illustrations note
    Illustrations (black and white), maps (black and white)
    Publisher
    John Murray General Publishing Division
    Imprint name
    John Murray Publishers Ltd
    Publication date
    05 June 2014
    Publication City/Country
    London
    Author Information
    Peter Snow is a highly respected journalist, author and broadcaster. He was ITN's Diplomatic and Defence Correspondent from 1966 to 1979 and presented Newsnight from 1980 to 1997. An indispensable part of election nights, he has also covered military matters on and off the world's battlefields for forty years. Peter is married and has six children.
    Review quote
    Peter Snow's account of this extraordinary event in British-American relations reads like a military thriller, each chapter raising the tension with a mass of detail and a kaleidoscope of characters who transform this book from what could have been a dry, chronological account into a riveting romp ... Snow adds an extra ingredient - a boyish enthusiasm for his subject ... a meticulous and fascinating account The Times A stirring tale Max Hastings, The Spectator The result is superb. When Britain Burned the White House is an exemplary work of history - lucid, witty and humane, with terrific pace, and so even-handed that it will surely be received as well in America as here The Spectator Snow builds his account on the voices of those who fought and witnessed the campaign, from nervous US militiamen to Ross, Cockburn and Dolley Madison, the president's resourceful wife. Written with verve and insight, this is a fitting reminder of a remarkable interlude in a war that deserves to be better known BBC History Magazine