Union 1812: The Americans who Fought the Second War of Independence

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Simon and Schuster, 2006 - History - 482 pages
In A. J. Langguth's classicPatriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution, he brought to life leaders from the generation of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in all of their complexity, with their great strengths and human frailties. InUnion 1812, those men appear again, tempered now by age and new responsibilities.James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, must decide whether to go to war again only thirty years after the American Revolution.Washington, Adams, and Jefferson had all made major concessions to avoid entangling their young and divided nation in new battles with Europe. But the War Hawks, aggressive congressmen from the South and West, are demanding that Madison take action to uphold America's honor against Great Britain.In this gripping narrative of the second and final war of independence, Madison leads an unprepared nation into a struggle that will establish the United States as a major world power and stake its claim to the entire continent.As the war begins, the U.S. Navy consists of seventeen oceangoing ships; the British fleet numbers seven hundred. Nor is the country united in its will to win. Governors in New England are refusing to call out their militia, while mobs attack antiwar newspaper editors in Baltimore in a violent repetition of the Boston Massacre.Dramatic scenes range across the world, from vicious fighting on the frontier -- one British officer compares the hand-to-hand combat with the savagery of bulldogs -- to Dolley Madison's elegant receptions at the executive mansion and the wrangling among America's peace delegates in Belgium at Ghent.Before the outcome is decided, the war will have engulfed land and sea, with a disastrous U.S. defeat at Detroit and epic naval campaigns on the Great Lakes. After the Americans sack Toronto, the British retaliate by burning the White House and the Capitol and laying siege with their rockets to Fort McHenry.Finally, two and a half years of bloodshed and botched strategies culminate in the spectacular battle of New Orleans.The heroes ofPatriotsare joined here by dozens of the most colorful and enduring characters from America's past: not only the diminutive and brilliant Madison and the statuesque Dolley, but also Sam Houston and Davy Crockett, Oliver Perry and Stephen Decatur, the great Shawnee chieftain Tecumseh, and four legendary men who will follow Madison into the White House -- James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Quincy Adams, and the triumphant hero Andrew Jackson.For too long, the War of 1812 has been ignored or misunderstood.Union 1812thrillingly illustrates why it must take its place as one of the defining moments in American history.
 

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User Review  - klindsey - LibraryThing

A popular history of the War of 1812 from the perspective of the people who lived it. Written by a retired journalism professor it is very readable. I enjoyed it. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

Very disappointing at first, until I realized the author was not writing a history of The War of 1812, but connected biographies of the participants. It’s a good thing, too, because the historical ... Read full review

Contents

Washington 17891797
43
Zebulon Pike 18051807
119
Embargo 18071808
129
Madison 18091812
141
Chapter
173
Chapter
183
Chapter
199
Isaac Brock Queenston 1812
209
Creek Wars 18131814
271
Dolley Madison 1814
291
Ghent 1814
323
New Orleans 18141815
343
Peace 1815
371
Afterward 18151861
381
Acknowledgments
411
Notes
415

John Armstrong Jr 1813
219
York 1813
227
Oliver Perry 1813
237
William Henry Harrison 1813
257

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About the author (2006)

A.J. Langguth covered the war in Vietnam for "The New York Times" & served as its Saigon Bureau Chief in 1965, returning again for the paper in 1968 & 1970. A professor of journalism in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, Jack is also the author of eight previous books, including "Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution." He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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