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“If history could be taught in the schools the way Berton writes about it, there wouldn’t be a more popular subject on the curriculum.” —The Globe and Mail
Of all the wars fought by the English-speaking peoples, this was one of the strangest—a war entered into blindly and fought (also blindly) by men out of touch not only with reality but also with their own forces.
To America’s leaders in 1812, an invasion of Canada seemed to be “a mere matter of marching,” as Thomas Jefferson confidently predicted. How could a nation of eight million fail to subdue a struggling colony of three hundred thousand? Yet, when the campaign ended, the only Americans left on Canadian soil were prisoners of war. Three American armies had been forced to surrender, and the British were in control of all of Michigan Territory and much of Indiana and Ohio.
In this remarkable account of the War of 1812’s first year and the events that led up to it, Pierre Berton transforms history into an engrossing narrative that reads like a fast-paced novel. Drawing on personal memoirs and diaries as well as official dispatches, the author gets inside the characters of the men who fought the war—the common soldiers as well as the generals, the bureaucrats and the profiteers, the traitors and the loyalists.
“A popular history as it should be written.” —The New York Times
“A catalogue of ironies and follies—dramatized through dispatches from each of the warring camps—which leaves hardly a legend intact.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A wonderful historical work . . . a book of love, ambition, guile, heroism, tragedy and cowardice.” —The Detroit News