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.
©2011 George C. Daughan (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"The War of 1812 was America's first great naval war, and George Daughan tells the story, from the coast of Brazil to the Great Lakes, from election campaigns to grand strategy to ship-to-ship combat. Sweeping, exciting and detailed." (Richard Brookhiser)
"A solidly researched, well-crafted account of U.S. sea power in the War of 1812… Daughan’s achievement is contextualizing the effect of [the U.S. Navy’s] victories…. What kept the peace, Daughan argues provocatively, was America’s post-war commitment to 'a strong navy, an adequate professional army, and the financial reforms necessary to support them' - in other words, an effective deterrent." (Publishers Weekly)
"Vietor’s timing and pacing are perfectly aligned with the narrative style of the text." (Audiofile)
The exciting sea battles. This book really gives a sense of what they were like, as well as their significance.
The victories of Decatur, Hull, Porter, Biddle, etc. at sea. But two moments that touches me most were the disappearance of the Essex after its victories and the Epervier carrying the Moroccan peace treaty and two newly-wed lieutenants Decatur was sending home so that they could join their wives. Through this book, I became more aware of the hardship of being at sea in those days as well as the horrors of sea battles (officers had a very good chance of being killed or wounded in every encounter). I was particularly impressed by the atrocious way seamen in the British navy were treated, something which led to widespread desertion and the impressing of American seamen that was one of the major reasons for the war. The bad treatment was not restricted to the Royal Navy; the detestable Admiral Bainbridge who was the highest ranking officer in the American navy also made himself hated by his men. But by and large the US seamen fared much better (depending on the captain), and I take a personal pleasure in imagining that this played a part in England's failure to beat the Americans whom the English politicians and military held in such contempt.
The book gives an excellent, thrilling (for the most part), and very detailed account of the war, its circumstances and its significance. I hesitated between 4 and 5 stars but opted for the latter.
The reader. Marc Vietor is an excellent reader, with a good combination of voice talents to keep what I'm sure was a slog of a read interesting for more than 10 hours.
Only if you're history-minded. The book is absolutely dense with unnecessary detail about individual ships and their crews. I really didn't need to know the number of crewmen on a ship that only appeared as part of a list of ships sunk in a battle.
I would recommend all but the last chapter to those interested in the pure history of the War of 1812, as the author's conclusions regarding the performance and leadership of President Madison are ridiculous, given this long tale of the executive incompetence demonstrated by his administration. There are disturbing parallels to our present situation 200 years later.
No, it would be too depressing.
Besides beign a history about the 'comming of age' for the USA it is interesting for it's tactical, strategic and political narative. It connects the history of the independency with the history of the civil war. Present-day political themes are easily recognised, together with unrelenting criticism on the handling of the invasion of Canada. Besides some rare heroics mostly the harsh reality of the commoners life and war is described. Like the war, in the end the story becomes 'a drag'. Probably unavoidable given the level of detail that was engaged upon.
Overall, an excellent read. I am not that familiar with the subject matter so cannot opine on the accuracy/completeness, but from an popular history perspective outstanding.
This is the fascinating story of "the little nation that could." The U.S. with a fledgling navy of a few ships took on one of the greatest naval powers the world had seen up until that time. This book shows how the U.S. overcame the overwhelming odds against it and changed U.S.-British relations forever.
The book is written in a factual style that always explains how many men were on both sides of a battle, how many and what kind of guns, the direction of the wind and currents, etc. There's very little editorial commentary which would actually be my only criticism because I really have no clue about sailing.
Would not recommend for listening. Great for reading for history buff.
Not for one sitting.
Great historical account. Wonderfully researched.. Learned great things about the war I had never known before. Was not very exciting. Does not lend itself to narration.
My only kvetch Perry didn't wait for high tide to float his boats over the bar (There are no tides on the Great Lakes) other than that, an excitng and compelling account on an often overlooked part of American history
Not the greatest book about Napoleonic naval war fare. You would be much better off with the less detailed but better written CS Forester Naval War of 1812.
Love the time period- read everything I can get my hands on. The least interesting aspect of the book was the way the detail was introduced and discussed- historical but uninspired.
I thought the narration was fine, but about as aspiring as the text.
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