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1812: The Navy's War Audiobook

1812: The Navy's War

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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (506 )
5 star
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4.1 (445 )
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Story
4.1 (446 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    J. Fuge 04-06-15
    J. Fuge 04-06-15 Member Since 2017

    something better

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    "Details and results of this overlooked war"

    Excellent revelation of important background. Excellent narration. To further appreciate our Navy and our history read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis Weston, CT, United States 01-24-15
    Lewis Weston, CT, United States 01-24-15 Member Since 2017
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    "A lot of the same!"

    It sounded like they were getting too deeply enmeshed in the operation of the ships and much too many details. Also, very repetitive!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 09-27-14
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 09-27-14 Member Since 2008

    My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.

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    "Courage and incompetence"

    The War of 1812 always gets short shrift in school, leading a lot of us to assume it was just a minor skirmish. I suppose in some ways it was. But there was still a lot going on, and this book does its part to fill in the blanks. Daughan does a great job setting up the background for the war. The specific issues of trade and impressment and how it was all related to the Napoleonic campaigns, the non-military tactics employed, the eventual breakdown, and the territorial designs of the US and Great Britain over Canada and the "Northwest".

    Madison does not come off well in this story. In fact the partisan rivalry between Republicans and Federalists sounds all too familiar to the times in which we live. Madison may have been a great political thinker but he was a lousy war president. Tales of American military and political incompetence abound during this conflict. It would be funny if it weren't so shameful and tragic.

    Daughan spends a lot of time on the details of individual military encounters. This really helped bring home the reality of men in the field dealing with what was right in front of them, as opposed to the orders reaching them after days or weeks from people in Washington who had no firsthand sense of what was going on. It also helped confirm that all the details in the Jack Aubrey books and the Hornblower books are pretty accurate.

    The two events everyone associates with this war--the burning of Washington and the bombardment of Fort McHenry--turn out to be rather peripheral in the scheme of the overall campaign. Which isn't to say they aren't important.

    It's easy in a history to have the thesis get lost in recounting details. But Daughan keeps revisiting his underlying premise that the US naval forces played an important role in changing the attitude of the British toward the US and contributing to the long peaceful affiliation the two countries have shared since that time. While Daughan addresses the issue of privateers, I couldn't help feeling that that story did not get proper weight. Perhaps someone else will tell that story someday.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randal Golubski 08-06-14
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    "Important Book"
    Any additional comments?

    Tried to cram too many stories into novel. Better look up 1800's nautical terms before you begin. Although this was an important time in our history as a nation the book was all over the place.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert California 04-13-14
    Robert California 04-13-14 Member Since 2013

    Iranians keep their nukes, Americans lose their insurance.

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    "Tedious but worthwhile"
    Where does 1812: The Navy's War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the middle.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Did not care for the book until the end, now I think it's fine!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Corey DOVER, DE, United States 02-10-14
    Corey DOVER, DE, United States 02-10-14 Member Since 2015
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    "An in-depth history of the war of 1812"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It can get a bit long-winded at times.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    He provided some truly interesting stories and anecdotes from first-hand accounts which really spiced up the story and kept my interest.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The reader was serviceable, caused me to get a bit sleepy after a while. Possibly because his reading pace was a bit slow.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael J. Morris Raleigh, NC 01-25-14
    Michael J. Morris Raleigh, NC 01-25-14 Member Since 2016
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    "A Great End-to-End Review of the War of 1812"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Covers multiple angles of the War of 1812, not just the Navy. Includes Army battles, US politics, Napoleon's wars, etc. Everything that affected this war.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The US Navy captains who didn't give a crap about British superiority at sea and took the fight to the British again and again


    What does Marc Vietor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Proper pronunciations of all the names and sites


    Any additional comments?

    A bit hard to keep track of all the names and places. It was fun to listen to the battles around Buffalo and Niagara Falls since I grew up there, but the rest of the places were hard to keep up with. I found myself checking Google maps later

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jack 12-18-13
    jack 12-18-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent Book and intriguing story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, very interesting facts about American in it's infancy and how we muddled through in this early war.


    What about Marc Vietor’s performance did you like?

    HIs emphasis was always spot on.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Charlotte, NC, United States 12-11-13
    William Charlotte, NC, United States 12-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A Lot of History"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, The book was good, but a lot of history and dry at times. I did learn many details about the War of 1812. This is one that I would listen to again because I missed some details during the first listening.


    Would you be willing to try another book from George C. Daughan? Why or why not?

    Yes, I love History.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Acteon 12-05-13
    Acteon 12-05-13

    Acteon

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    "Well worth listening to"
    What made the experience of listening to 1812: The Navy's War the most enjoyable?

    The exciting sea battles. This book really gives a sense of what they were like, as well as their significance.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of 1812: The Navy's War?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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