At the outbreak of the War of 1812, America's prospects looked dismal. It was clear that the primary battlefield would be the open ocean, but America's war fleet, only 20 ships strong, faced a practiced British navy of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, the American navy managed to take the fight to the British and turn the tide of the war: on the Great Lakes, in the Atlantic, and even in the eastern Pacific.
In 1812: The Navy's War, prize-winning historian George C. Daughan tells the thrilling story of how a handful of heroic captains and their stalwart crews overcame spectacular odds to lead the country to victory against the world's greatest imperial power. A stunning contribution to military and national history, 1812: The Navy's War is the first complete account in more than a century of how the U.S. Navy rescued the fledgling nation and secured America's future.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Title does not do justice to the effort
This is a fabulous history of the entire War of 1812, not just the naval conflict. The seas are where the US enjoyed most of their victories, but this reading covers the land battles, the issues that led to the conflict, and what was happening in Europe coincidentally, a very, very thorough review of the events. But don't rush in too fast, it's not a pretty picture. I was told in school and in Bill Murray's famous line, "We're Ten-and-one," that the US was the victim and the winner of this conflict. I come away with a quite different opinion now. At best the US achieved a draw, and if we did win, France is due the credit for drawing off the bulk of the English forces. Even worse, while we had the excuse of impressement, we caused it, we weren't the victims. That hurts. President Madison, who is one of the great Americans of all time, is no longer as great. His schemes and plans and assumptions were almost all completely wrong. Still, the insights are incredible. The span of the conflict covered is also fabulous. Only two issues. 1. Despite their starring role, the history of the Six Frigates is not covered in any depth. For that, read the book of the same name. 2. You need to understand all of the pieces of a tall ship/frigate. The descriptions of the ship are quite detailed and the retelling of the battles even more so. But if you don't know what a Mizzen Mast is or the function of a jib, you will get lost quick. The audio book badly needed a PDF cheat sheet of ship pieces. Still, it is a fabulous story and you can always stop the story and look up a particular chunk of ship on Wikipedia, if you need it.