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The Naval War of 1812

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  164 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Published when Theodore Roosevelt was only twenty-three years old, The Naval War of 1812 was immediately hailed as a literary and scholarly triumph, and it is still considered the definitive book on the subject. It caused considerable controversy for its bold refutation of earlier accounts of the war, but its brilliant analysis and balanced tone left critics floundering, c ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 4th 1999 by Modern Library (first published 1902)
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Ron
As history this may rate four or five stars, but its poor readability will repel all but the most numbers-oriented naval history buffs. Considering that Roosevelt's goal was to correct representations and misinterpretations on both sides of the Atlantic, perhaps his didactic style can be excused. That and the fact that he started Naval War will still in college.

Even given those excuses, this is not a readable tome. Many chapters repeat information and arguments given in previous chapters. And Ro
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Mitch PITEO
So far, The CV of TR is such that I want to kill myself for lack of effort in life - I have done nothing...yet.
John Burroughs the Nature-Writer wrote "Roosevelt was a many-sided man and every side was like an electric battery..."
Peter Goodman

“The Naval War of 1812,” by Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library paperback, 1999). Ok, so Roosevelt was 23 when this was published. He had just been elected to the New York State Assembly; it was begun as his senior thesis at Harvard. Oy gevalt. Whatever. A masterpiece, for those of us who relish naval history. This is a remarkable piece of historical writing, based on original documents, ships’ logs, letters, official correspondence, study of blueprints and plans. He had to learn about sailing wh
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Lynne Marrs
Brilliant! If anyone needed reaffirmation of Roosevelt's genius, this is the proof. He parsed an unintelligible war perfectly, including all the naval navigation. All of this and more when he was 22 and writing the book while on his honeymoon! What a guy, what a book!
Frederick
If you want details on virtually every naval engagement of the War of 1812 this is the book to read. Roosevelt studied official documents, letters, and histories to sort out conflicting information and try to establish, like a policeman at a crime scene, exactly what really happened. I was really impressed with his thoroughness and his scholarship. I'm sure, though, that other historians might disagree with his conclusions. He even discussed the views of other writers. This is a pretty exciting ...more
Joe
This is a thesis prepared by Roosevelt which is probably the most in depth analysis of the War and our Navy and Army. it is not a pleasure book and gets boring when the minutia of the war machines are analyzed and the analyzation is proved by exhaustive research. It is a read that is only reccomeded if you are really, really desireous to know all there is about the War.

It deals with land, sea, Great Lakes and river battles that are ignored by most history books as unimportant and unromqntic. It
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Mark
Amazing fact 1: Theodore Roosevelt started writing this book as a college student (he was not allowed to use it as a thesis, as his professors wanted him to do something more "usual," like picking a Classical Greek or Roman subject). Amazing fact 2: This book helped him get his position as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and ultimately aided him in becoming Vice President (and then President upon McKinley's assassination). Amazing fact 3: This book is *still* considered one of the standard ...more
James Akins Jr
Good historical summary

Good historical summary

This book provides a good understanding of various naval events and some grounds forces activity related to this seldom seen conflict. It further provides an understanding of the concept that the winner writes the history, though in this case the author tries to impart an unbiased rendition of the facts where, unfortunately the recorded facts from both sides conflict.
Mike
Highly technical, very dry. This is frankly not much fun to read, even if you are a TR or a War of 1812 enthusiast. Laborious is a better way to characterize it. Among other things makes repeated references to contemporaneous accounts of the war which are by now quite obscure and the critiques thus generally meaningless. If you are reading because you like TR, don't feel guilty for moving quickly on to his autobiography, Rough Riders, or other more interesting fare penned by him.
Cole Schoolland
A good read but really more supplemental to James' "Naval Occurrences...". He focuses a lot on breaking down the comparative force to try and give a more realistic picture of the engaging sides and examine what truly lead to victory. If you are into statistical analysis, this is great. However, for the narrative, I would still recommend James (he just needs to be taken with a grain of salt). Still, a fascinating and necessary addendum to this portion of American History.
Nat
Just completed a re-read of this classic text.

This is an excellent detailed documentation of the actions of the USN during the war. He details the many actions, both well and little known, to the general public.

That said, Roosevelt wrote this in a style that is challenging to read and requires significant focus to complete.

I gave this four stars for it's content, but would only give it a single star for readability.
B.N. Peacock
TR did a wonderful job setting the record straight on the various naval battles in the War of 1812. He strayed a little on the engagement between HMS Shannon USS Chesapeake. He was as eager to explain the British victory in terms of why the Chesapeake wasn't at her best that day as the British were to explain away their defeats. My only regret is that the Kindle version didn't list the various diagrams for the battles.
Don Weidinger
Ppld.org: Published when TR was 23, bold refutation of earlier accounts of the war, brilliant analysis and balanced tone, inimitable style and robust narrative. A sailors detail of naval battles. Willful systematic perversion of facts, unsupported assertions by historians, scrupulous manipulation of facts, with humility courage and skill American Ships won, Jefferson too visionary, best offense is good defense for Jackson.
Papias
I'm fairly certain that Teddy really wanted to title this book, "William M. James is full of ..."
William Durkee
Passed chapter 3 today - informative yet incredibly wordy!
Pretty shocked at how little Teddy Roosevelt thought of Thomas Jefferson. Alot of facts I hadnt been aware of, including the enormity of the undertaking. Challenging the Royal Navy, with over 1,000 Ships of the Line, when the U.S. only had 8, was amazing. That we had any successes at all, doubly amazing.
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Curtiss
An excellent description of all the ships and battles of the war of 1812, from the battles of the great lakes to the single-ship frigate actions on the high seas.

By congressional statute, this book is required to be part of each and every ship-board library of vessels belonging to the United States Navy.
Stephen Hughes
Still considered the definitive history of the naval war, but TR's prose is pretty turgid. It's funny that a war on the water could make for such dry reading.
Duane Donecker
Excellent book, be prepared however a lot of 19th century naval termanology is used as well as a lot of technical information
Bob
Teddy was quite a good write in his early years.
Kuzriel
Good for thesis. Showing Roosevelt's diversity.
Brenda Chung
Brenda Chung marked it as to-read
May 23, 2015
David Wienecke
David Wienecke marked it as to-read
May 19, 2015
Chad Rexin
Chad Rexin marked it as to-read
May 13, 2015
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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., also known as T.R., and to the public (but never to friends and intimates) as Teddy, was the twenty-sixth President of the United States, and a leader of the Republican Party and of the Progressive Movement. He became the youngest President in United States history at the age of 42. He served in many roles including Governor of New York, historian, naturalist, explorer, au ...more
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