1812: War with America

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Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007 - History - 637 pages

Listen to a short interview with Jon LatimerHost: 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; 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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hf22 - LibraryThing

An interesting view of the War of 1812 from a British perspective, including a critical look at American claims of victory. No second war for independence here! A great insight into a time when the British Empire fought both Napoleon's might and the United States' power. Read full review

1812: War with America

User Review  - Kirkus

British military historian Latimer (Burma: The Forgotten War, 2004, etc.) provides a blow-by-blow study of this still vaguely understood conflict. Known primarily for inspiring Francis Scott Key to ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Jon Latimer lectured at the University of Wales, Swansea and served in the Territorial Army. He is the author of1812: War with AmericaandAlamein(both from Harvard).

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