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Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans
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Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  261 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
From the author of best-selling works of history and fiction, a fast-paced, enthralling retelling of one of the greatest battles fought on the North American continent, and of the two men who--against all expectations and odds--joined forces to repel the British invasion of New Orleans in December 1814.
It has all the ingredients of a high-flying adventure story. Unbeknown
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Hardcover, 292 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 2006)
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Carl Nelson
Jul 17, 2013 Carl Nelson rated it really liked it
I'm afraid that prior to this book, my knowledge of the War of 1812 was largely limited to three things: 1) The Americans defeated the British. 2) The British burned Washington. 3) The Battle of New Orleans was fought after the war ended and became a smash hit song for Johnny Horton. Winston Groom's Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans provides an excellent, readable antidote to my ignorance through an engaging examination of how the battle transpired, why ...more
Derek
Apr 14, 2017 Derek rated it really liked it
I loved seeing a different side of Andrew Jackson and understanding more about the southern end of the War of 1812 and how it fit within the larger war. Good read.
Josh Liller
I both loved and hated this book. It has some of the same flaws as Groom's other non-fiction books that I have read: a general history written for a non-scholarly audience, he eschews citations and includes too many fluffy footnotes. It also mostly shows Groom's skill as an author.

What hinders this book more than Groom's usual work are many instances of repetition (some nearly verbatim) and a number of mistakes. Groom admits many details of the battle are contradicted by different sources and pe
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Jc
Oct 11, 2016 Jc rated it really liked it
Grooms easy flowing style makes for relaxed reading. He manages to take the dry pandantic taste out of the historic narrative.
Jennie
May 07, 2017 Jennie rated it liked it
It was a well written book, but way too many battle details for me. It was a book club book and I was determined to finish it and I did that!
Joel Fishbane
Jun 17, 2014 Joel Fishbane rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Most of the scholarship on Andrew Jackson concentrates on his political life, so it's a great treat to dive into any book that focuses entirely on a pre-presidential Jackson, specifically his generalship during the War of 1812. For those who, like me, can't ever seem to get enough of Andrew Jackson, this is a great book that fits neatly on the shelf next to such titles as Robert V. Remini's exhaustive biography and Jon Meacham's American Lion (a single volume account of Jackson's White House yea ...more
Jerome
Aug 03, 2012 Jerome rated it liked it
An interesting, well-written history of the Battle of New Orleans. Groom shows how Andrew Jackson and a polyglot army of Kentucky-Tennessee riflemen, Creoles, Indians, and blacks managed to win a lopsided victory against a superior British force. The British had inherited a pretty bad strategic situation when they first invaded the area and, Groom argues, only made it worse.

A big part of Groom’s story is the role played by Jean Lafitte and his band of pirates.Laffite’s contribution, Groom write
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David Williams
Apr 10, 2013 David Williams rated it it was amazing
The phrase “What Hath God Wrought” was the first message sent long distance over the telegraph. This was in some ways the beginning of the communications age. This book covers the period from 1815 to 1848. Many viewed the War of 1812 as the second American Revolution. In the aftermath of that war the American nation began to grow quickly. By the end of the period another war would be fought. This one with Mexico. That war would complete what we today call the Continental United States.

This perio
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Bill Simpson
Jul 03, 2008 Bill Simpson rated it it was amazing
July 3, 2008

I just completed reading this book, after having read Andrew Jackson, Live and Times by Brands. I saw Mr. Groom on a History Channel piece on Andrew Jackson, along with Dr. Brands and other Jackson and time period historians and so my wife surprised me by checking this book out of the Modesto library for me to read.

This was a very easy and pleasant read about the War of 1812 and specifically about the Battle of New Orleans. Mr. Groom is a very good story teller and I believe the item
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George
Jan 25, 2016 George rated it really liked it
Definitely a fun read. Like most of Winston Groom's historical works, it's not aimed at historians or buffs of the period or war in question but at the general reading public and on that level it works very well. Certainly Andrew Jackson was not only the man of the hour but probably the best possible man for the occasion, with a deep seated hatred for the Britsh and remarkable determination. But Jean Laffite seems to have been a far more interesting personality and surprisingly devoted to his ne ...more
David Bales
Dec 04, 2012 David Bales rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Great perspective on the War of 1812 by Winston Groom, who wrote "Forrest Gump", this time venturing into history, not fiction, with the tale of Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans over the British, with a huge amount of help from Jean Laffite and his barrier island "pirates", who though loyal to no laws, came through for the Americans. The War of 1812 has been forgotten, but shouldn't. It preserved two countries, (Canada and the U.S.) from the imperial designs of others, (the ...more
Josh
Sep 22, 2008 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: next-100
I'd say 3 to 3.5 stars. Good read on a famous American battle. I read this before going to New Orleans thinking it was going to be more about the novelty of the participation of privateer Jean Laffite in the battle. I think I was expecting Laffite engaging the British Navy in some kind of Swamp Fox guerrilla tactics on the high seas... but the best contribution of Laffite was to not accept the British bribes in advance to take their sides which would have doomed the Americans and New Orleans. La ...more
Eileen
Feb 22, 2010 Eileen rated it really liked it
I love history and this book is history at its best. Winston Groom has a knack for storytelling and this story is a terrific one. Who would believe that our country's freedom would have depended on a fiery tempered, part-time soldier and a Baratarian pirate! Together with a mixed band of Tennessee and Kentucky volunteers, New Orleans town folk poorly armed and totally untrained, they not only held off the highly trained and battle hardened British Army, fresh from defeating Napoleon, they sent t ...more
Rod
Dec 04, 2008 Rod rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Good depiction of the Battle and the War in general. Looking backward, it is easy to take events for granted. Groom points out how likely an American defeat in the war was, what with Britain's large armies (and naval forces) freed by the defeat of Napoleon. Likewise, the British were far superior in forces arrayed in the battle itself.

Groom is not up to his previous standards in descriptive writing. For example, he calls Rachel Jackson "portly." Sorry, men are "portly"; women are "stout."

Still,
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Mike Farrell
Aug 16, 2014 Mike Farrell rated it it was amazing
I read this a few years ago, and found it extremely through in explaining the strategies and tactics of both sides, especially the English.

This was not a battle where the 2 sides just formed up and shot each other down; why did the English choose New Orleans instead of Mobile? How did Andrew Jackson use choosing the site of the battle to his advantage? What role did artillery, and its placement play in the battle?

All of these issues are covered in this book. Good reading for the US military his
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Michael
Jan 11, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing

This book was impressive. This was a part of U.S. History that I didn't know much about. Now I understand why Andrew Jackson was such a popular man in history.

As much as I loved learning about Andrew Jackson, learning about the pirate Jean Laffite was even more interesting to me. Pirates helping us win the war was awesome to read about. The "bad guys" turned into heroes that Jackson had to, begrudgingly, work with. The British would have probably won the Battle for New Orleans without them.

High
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Diana
Jul 22, 2015 Diana rated it liked it
Military history is not my preferred genre, but I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Some of the descriptions of battles were actually pretty engaging, as were the character outlines of some of the key players. Unfortunately, there were simply too many named individuals for me to keep straight as the book went on. The writing also struck me as that of someone who likes to hear himself talk and is especially pleased with his cleverness, and that does not appeal, although to be fair, the wr ...more
Mark Luongo
Dec 20, 2013 Mark Luongo rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mark by: Bibliography of another book
The author, who also wrote Forrest Gump and has lately taken to writing non-fiction, has written a highly readable account of the battle and the numerous personalities involved. But he also acknowledges the difficulties in working with confusing, unreliable and contradictory resources. Altogether the book flows well and would be worthwhile for anyone interested in the War of 1812 and the battle at "Nawlins." One glaring pictorial error, the picture of David A. Morgan, Louisiana MIlitia commander ...more
David
Jun 09, 2009 David rated it liked it
I took an unseemly pleasure in reading about those arrogant Redcoat invaders being cut down as they marched across the swampy ground south of New Orleans by a bunch of rag tag militia, some regular Army, and pirates/privateers under Jean Lafitte. Cliches have to have some basis in fact, I suppose. A workmanlike history of a battle that took place after the conclusion of the War of 1812, Groom hits the high points and keeps things moving in this history for general audiences.
Sydney Young
Excellent and fast paced. Think Americans are down and out? Think we haven't been there before and prevailed? Remember anything about the War that birthed the Star Spangled Banner? Want to know where the concept of one nation at all costs was first reinforced? Want to know why Jackson was such a big deal, and where Davy Crockett and Sam Houston cut their teeth? Want to hear about a charming gentleman pirate whose men helped save the Union from the Union Jack?
Phil Overeem
Jun 19, 2012 Phil Overeem rated it liked it
After multiple visits to New Orleans and a recent visit to Galveston island, I felt it was time I became further educated about Jean Lafitte. I still have a ways to go--this wasn't enough--but Groom's book gave me a basic overview of the Battle of New Orleans and Lafitte's role in it, plus provided me a new map for exploring the Crescent City next time. I found the writing a bit quaint at times, so I may have to return to the subject elsewhere, but not bad for a starter.
Molly
Mar 03, 2013 Molly rated it liked it
I think I'd have to be more of a history and military buff to truly appreciate this book, but it was interesting subject matter. I came away from it thinking that most of the dudes involved were naughty, violent jerks, especially in the first half of the book when they were running around dueling & fighting & killing each other -- and that was before the war even started. They all seemed to need a smack to the head and a responsible adult to tell them to knock it off.
Tom
Feb 24, 2008 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008-books-read
I can't recall what prompted my fascination with Jean Laffite, the pirate. Maybe the connection to New Orleans, Galveston, or legends that he was buried in Alton, Illinois, which I visited in May 2007. Winston Groom, who also wrote Forrest Gump, writes a great history of the Battle of 1812 and the role of the Baratarians in repelling the British. Jim Bowie, the legendary Alamo defender, was hooked up with Laffite in the slave-trading business, by the way.
Joe
Dec 04, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it
This is a great book, well written and researched. The author makes the history seem more like a novel. The characters involved in the Battle of New Orleans are interesting enough on their own, but the author does a good job of showing some of the personal traits, both good and bad, of guys like Andrew Jackson, Jean Laffite, and the Britishers.
Mark Berry
Jan 10, 2017 Mark Berry rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. The relaxed narrative style of writing for a book of this subject matter was, at first, unbalancing for me. I thought the author did a good job presenting the background of the war, this particular battle, and the cast of characters. He also presents the sequence of battle in a clear and concise manner.
Lee Miller
Jul 03, 2015 Lee Miller rated it really liked it
A light, conversational, sometimes thrilling, and always charming history of the Battle of New Orleans. I read this by going back and forth between the Kindle and Audible versions, and the narrator was absolutely excellent: warm, wry, avuncular. Perfect if you enjoy popular military histories or are looking for a refresher on the War of 1812.
Joe Robertson
Apr 28, 2010 Joe Robertson rated it it was amazing
This really was a good book. If nothing else, the author is a good story teller. From beginning to end, this book sucks you into the action and the story and it is hard to put down. If you like American history you will like this book.
Joshua
Jul 01, 2012 Joshua rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2006
Really good non-fiction book about Battle of New Orleans in 1814. Andrew Jackson comes off glowing--which I'm not too sure about--but this is a rousing piece of nf writing. I love reading about us whipping these redcoats!
Aimée
Aug 06, 2014 Aimée rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why are all books about Lafitte so boring? I'm about to give up my quest for an interesting book about one of my favorite historical characters.

The textbook I use when teaching Louisiana history barely covers him, but it does so in mildly interesting manner. I prefer that over this.
Debbie
Jul 05, 2014 Debbie rated it it was ok
I am disappointed that I could not finish this book. I got through about half of the book but it never really grabbed my interest. I am sad about this because I loved the author's latest book "The Aviators"
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Winston Groom is an American novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for his book Forrest Gump, which was adapted into a film in 1994. Groom was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Mobile, Alabama where he attended University Military School (now known as UMS-Wright Preparatory School). He attended the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta and the Army ROTC, and ...more
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