1812 : War with America

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Listen to a short interview with Jon Latimer/Host: Chris Gondek/Producer: Heron & Crane. In the first complete history of the War of 1812 written from a British perspective, Jon Latimer offers an authoritative and compelling account that places the conflict in its strategic context within the Napoleonic wars. The British viewed the War of 1812 as an ill-fated attempt by the young American republic to annex Canada. For British Canada, populated by many loyalists who had fled the American Revolution, this was a war for survival. The Americans aimed both to assert their nationhood on the global stage and to expand their territory northward and westward. Americans would later find in this war many iconic moments in their national story - the bombardment of Fort McHenry (the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's 'Star Spangled Banner'); the Battle of Lake Erie; the burning of Washington; the death of Tecumseh; and, Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans - but their war of conquest was ultimately a failure. Even the issues of neutrality and impressment that had triggered the war were not resolved in the peace treaty. For Britain, the war was subsumed under a long conflict to stop Napoleon and to preserve the empire. The one lasting result of the war was in Canada, where the British victory eliminated the threat of American conquest, and set Canadians on the road toward confederation. Latimer describes events not merely through the eyes of generals, admirals, and politicians but through those of the soldiers, sailors, and ordinary people who were directly affected. Drawing on personal letters, diaries, and memoirs, he crafts an intimate narrative that marches the reader into the heat of battle.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 656 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 884.5g
  • The Belknap Press
  • Cambridge, Mass., United States
  • English
  • 16 halftones, 16 maps
  • 0674034775
  • 9780674034778
  • 673,002

Review quote

An exhaustive reassessment of a war neither side really won. Kirkus Reviews 20070715 The history of the war has been written mainly by Americans. Jon Latimer has now provided a full account, mainly from the British standpoint and often using British sources hitherto disregarded by American historians. It is a very credible effort and a substantial volume...The fact is the war of 1812, which Latimer describes so well, taught both Britain and America that war between them was futile and shameful. -- Paul Johnson Literary Review 20071001 In this welcome British perspective to the canon of research on the War of 1812, Latimer convincingly debunks the popular myth that this was a second war of independence and a total victory for the United States...The financial deficiencies, administrative mishaps, and military mistakes on both sides are examined in thorough detail, making for a balanced and enlightening account. -- Douglas King Library Journal 20070901 Of all the books I've consumed on the War of 1812, Jon Latimer's 1812: War with America has got to be the best...It is the most comprehensive narrative of the war you're likely to find. -- Hans Werner Toronto Star 20071111 [Latimer] is particularly good at establishing the complicated connections between the negotiations that ended the war in America and the wider European peace settlement. -- Stephen Conway Times Literary Supplement 20080307 Latimer promises and delivers a comprehensive investigation of the War of 1812 from a British perspective. What Latimer has provided is a densely detailed and balanced study. He examines the issues from the perspectives of all participants: Americans, Britons, Canadians, and Indians. His approach is broad, weaving political, diplomatic, financial, social, military, and naval activities into a coherent whole. His work is buttressed by the skillful use of the best scholarship and is further supported by extensive personal accounts of the participants which contribute to an already engaging style. -- Richard V. Barbuto Journal of Military History 20080401 This insightful and comprehensive study of the War of 1812 is particularly valuable because it presents that conflict from the perspective of America's enemy. Latimer's British point of view--in which he sees the war as a subset of the war wit Napoleon, rather tha as the separate conflict we often view it as--may not be wholly appreciated by U.S. readers. But this impressively researched and well-written account is a fascinating revelation that serves as an excellent mirror in which to study ourselves. -- Thomas J. Cutler Proceedings 20080501 This is a history of the War of 1812 written from the British perspective, using the personal letters, diaries, and memoirs of the generals, admirals, politicians, plus the ordinary soldiers, seamen, and civilians caught up in the conflict. It is a comprehensive and fast-paced narrative that brings the conflict vividly to life, from its causes than emanated from the Napoleonic War in Europe, to the conclusion of peace in 1814...1812: War with America is a comprehensible and very readable account of the conflict. By examining the story from the British perspective, the author places the war within its global context as perceived by Great Britain at the time. As such, it is a very valuable addition to any library on this subject. -- Paul Chamberlain First Empire any books have been written about the War of 1812 in the last few years, but none quite like Jon Latimer's 1812: War with America. The author of histories of British arms in the Burma and North African campaigns in World War II, Latimer has written the first book on the the War of 1812 from the British perspective since nearly two centuries ago. The result is a thorough and elegantly written account that squarely places the conflict in the context of the Napoleonic Wars...1812: War with America covers all aspects of the conflict, including diplomacy, finances, atrocities perpetrated by and against the Indians, the naval campaigns at sea and on the Great Lakes, and the land campaigns in the Old Northwest, the South, and Canada...With wit and pathos, [Latimer] has drawn wonderful capsule sketches of the participants, and his staggering research as led to illuminating first-hand accounts of marches and battles from leading generals to lowly sergeants...1812: War with America is a detailed study of a still-obscure was from the British perspective, insightful, written with panache, and backed by massive research. -- Frederick C. Leiner United States Naval Instituteshow more

Table of contents

List of Maps and Illustrations Note on Place-Names and Currency Introduction 1. "Canada! Canada! Canada!" 2. Soldiers, Sailors, Immigrants, and Indians 3. Brock--Saviour of Canada 4. Frigates and Privateers 5. Winter on the Lakes 6. Spring on the Frontier 7. Raids and Blockades 8. Tecumseh's Tragedy 9. Crysler's Farm 10. Drummond's Winter Offensive 11. Atlantic and Pacific 12. The Far Northwest 13. The Niagara Frontier 14. Burning the White House 15. Baltimore and Fort Erie 16. Plattsburgh 17. New Orleans 18. The Peace of Christmas Eve Abbreviations Notes Select Bibliography Indexshow more

About Jon Latimer

Jon Latimer lectured at the University of Wales, Swansea and served in the Territorial Army. He is the author of 1812: War with America and Alamein (both from Harvard).show more

Rating details

43 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
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4 53% (23)
3 26% (11)
2 2% (1)
1 2% (1)
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