This audio program has all the ingredients of a high-flying adventure story. Unbeknownst to the combatants, the War of 1812 has ended. But Andrew Jackson, a brave, charismatic American general, sick with dysentery and commanding a beleaguered garrison, leads a desperate struggle to hold on to New Orleans and thwart the army that defeated Napoleon. Helping him is a devilish French pirate, Jean Laffite, who rebuffs a substantial bribe from the British and, together with his erstwhile enemy, saves the city from invasion...much to the grateful chagrin of New Orleanians, shocked to find themselves on the same side as the brazen buccaneer.
Winston Groom brings his considerable storytelling gifts to the re-creation of this remarkable battle and to the portrayal of its main players. Against the richly evocative backdrop of French New Orleans, he illuminates Jackson's brilliant strategy and tactics, as well as the antics and cutthroat fighting prowess of Laffite and his men. Patriotic Fire brings this extraordinary military achievement vividly to life.
©2006 Winston Groom; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
"His vivid account of how that victory was won merits a place in both public and private collections." (Publishers Weekly)
As a native of a "Gulf Border State" I enjoyed
this entertaining account of probably the most crucial period in american history since the revolution, the War of 1812. The personalitiesof Andrew Jackson and Jean LaFite are brought to life, and the battle is explained in broad context.
Should be required reading for residents of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana, and the USA.
Grover Gardener is a great reader.
The author does an excellent job of identifying and describing some very interesting historical figures that are crucial to the Battle of New Orleans. This is basically military history with a broader background because neither side has the capabilities that are taken for granted in modern warfare.
The account of the physical layout of the terrain, the strategies of both sides and the element of fortune and skill that determined the outcome are well explained in this work.
The Battle of New Orleans is a strange battle to discuss. It was the last battle in the War of 1812. It was fought after the war had actually ended. Since transportation was so slow the news of the war’s end did not arrive in time to prevent the battle. One one side were the invaders. General Packinham led an army of battle hardened British soldiers. Many of them had campaigned against the French armies in Portugal, Spain, and France with the Duke of Wellington. They were not an army used to defeat. Against that force was General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee. Jackson had assembled a motley crew of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky volunteers, US Army regulars, Baratarian pirates, and Choctaw warriors. When on January 8, 1815 the 11,000 man British force attacked it was repulsed with heavy losses by the Americans.
Winston Groom, best known as author of Forrest Gump takes the reader on a fascinating ride through the story of this war. Groom introduces the conflict by discussing an ancestor of his who fought at the battle. Then he gives a long background on the history of Jean Laffite and his Baratarians. He discusses the city of New Orleans, the background of the war, Andrew Jackson, and a host of other things. Groom is a brilliant author and his prose really shines forth in this book. He doesn’t pretend to be a professional historian. Where the records are confusing or contradictory, which is often, he gives several possibilities and then shares which one he like best. This is a great book about a fascinating battle. Do yourself a favor and read this.
Say something about yourself!
Wow ! !
I never realized what a near run thing the war of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans was.
I always thought the battle of New Orleans was anti-climactic because peace had already been signed.What Groom points out is that IF the British had marched onto New Orleans like everyone thought they would, not only would they have stayed for a long long time, but controlled the Mississippi.
New Orleans AND the Mississippi could have become another Gibralter or Hong Kong.
Napolean sold Louisianna to America.
England would have taken the position that Napolean was never the legitimate ruler of France so he never had the right to sell it.
It is no accident that Americans referred to the war of 1812 as the second war of independence,I mean the British had just burned Washington D.C. to the ground.
Andrew Jackson may have been flawed in many ways but not when it came to fighting.
At the time,the war was going badly,the country was demoralized and beginning to doubt itself.Andrew Jackson may have been the only American General at the time that could have pulled it off.
Pure and simple ,Groom tells a very good story chock full of facts you never knew..
I actually liked the narrator.His matter of fact nasal twang gave the story an authentic feel like Jackson or one of his contemporaries was telling it.
If you like historical books you will love Patriotic Fire.
Interested in history, war, and Russia
I decided to buy this audiobook since I was going to drive 12 hours to New Orleans and was woefully ignorant about the War of 1812. I sure did learn a lot! It's amazing to think that the army that had just defeated Napoleon at Waterloo was bested by pirates and backwoods folk. This is one of those amazing stories of American triumph in the face of adversity that you don't hear about much nor learn in school. Upon arriving in New Orleans, I had a better understanding of the city's cultural roots and traditions. I cannot imagine how scared the residents must have been as they sheltered in their buildings from British cannon. It is amazing that some of the places mentioned in the book can still be found in the city today.
Unlike the other reviewers, I absolutely could not stand Grover Gardner's narrarration. I'm not quite sure what it is; he sounds like he is trying to fake some sort of "upper class" accent. You know how in old Hitchcock movies the women would all talk with this weird almost British accent for some reason, even though they were American? It's like that, only far more annoying to me. The story was good enough to keep me listening, however.
This book tells the story of the British invasion of New Orleans in the winter of 1814-1815. The story reads almost like a novel, with complex, lively characters from both sides of the war, often with interesting background stories on the main characters. Andrew Jackson, especially, got into some ridiculous, funny, and sometimes horrible scrapes before the war.
The battle itself is described in a very coherent and understandable way, switching seamlessly between British and American perspectives in a sensible chronological order. The battlefield by the Mississippi river, and the surrounding maze of swamps and lakes, are nicely visualized. One thing I especially liked was that the book explained just how difficult and complicated it was for the British to get anywhere near New Orleans in the first place, and likewise how dangerous and tedious their retreat turned out to be.
This book did a fine job setting the context for the battle, explaining what happened in the larger national and world context before and after the battle and what was at stake for both the British and Americans, and especially the locals, in the battle.
It is a good listen, well narrated, not too long, not too short, and makes history feel alive and important 200 years later.
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