1812: The Navy’s War
George C. Daughan
Charlestown Branch Library
Thursday, May 10, 7:30 pm
“Daughan’s is a history that
expands our understanding,
debunking several popular myths …
Daughan keeps a fairly tight focus on military events,
but he also examines how the fallout from battles
rippled though the politics of the day …
this history of an oft-forgotten war holds value for all.
The reader who is curious as to just what the coming
bicentennial commemorates will find
that curiosity thoroughly satisfied.
Readers who have been
eagerly awaiting the bicentennial
will find in Daughan’s “1812’’ an account that
confirms why the conflict
merits remembrance – and celebration.”
(Boston Globe review, 10/21/2011)
(Charlestown, MA 02129) The Friends of the Charlestown Branch Library presents 1812: The Navy’s War, with George C. Daughan. Thursday, May 10, at 7:30 pm. At the Charlestown Branch Library, 179 Main Street, Charlestown. Free and open to everyone, with a book signing and reception following. For more information: 617-242-1248, www.bpl.org/branches/charlestown.htm.
As the 200th anniversary approaches, an award-winning author tells the astounding story of the War of 1812, when a ragtag team of American commanders, seamen, and privateers took on – and bested – the most powerful navy in the world.
The United States and Great Britain fought each other in a conflict that changed the shape of the world. Award-winning author and historian George C. Daughan offers a comprehensive history of the War of 1812 in his new book, 1812: The Navy’s War. Arguing that it’s impossible to fully understand the war without an appreciation of the American Navy’s role, Daughan vividly reveals how the war was waged – and won – on the high seas. According to Daughan, “The U.S. Navy’s role in bringing about Britain’s newfound respect for the United States was critical.”
Encompassing political, diplomatic, economic, and military history, 1812: The Navy’s War examines the causes and outcomes of what has been called America’s Second War of Independence. At the beginning, America’s prospects looked dismal. Republicans and Federalists had spent years debating the size and role of the country’s military, and when hostilities commenced, the nation’s war fleet consisted of only twenty ships – six of which were under repairs when President Madison signed the Declaration of War in June of 1812. This handful of ships was up against a fearsome, practiced navy: the British fleet had over 1,000 men-of-war, 600 of which were continuously at sea.
Integrating what was happening in Europe with what was going on in North America at the time, Daughan places the Navy’s role in the context of the war as a whole. Through a combination of keen strategizing, nautical deftness, and sheer bravado, the American Navy held back the British and even took the fight to them. 1812: The Navy’s War brings the battles to life: critical clashes on the Great Lakes, including Oliver Hazard Perry’s gaining of control of Lake Erie; Thomas Macdonough’s decisive victory on Lake Champlain; the Navy’s key role in winning the crucial battle of New Orleans; and the battle of Baltimore, where the Navy’s great heroes – Perry, John Rodgers, and David Porter – delayed the British fleet’s assault with attacks on the Potomac after the battle of Washington. From the first American victory of the war – Porter’s defeat of HMS Alert – to USS Wasp’s triumph over HMS Frolic, which was even more significant, to HMS Shannon’s capture of USS Nautilus (the first of the war), Daughan offers vivid depictions and original interpretations of significant battles on both land and sea.
The war also proved to be a turning point in the Navy’s own history. Early victories such as USS Constitution’s defeat of HMS Guerriere and USS United States’ capture of HMS Macedonian earned the Navy much-needed popular support and convinced skeptics that a well-ke...
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