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The Naval War of 1812

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  306 Ratings  ·  31 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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Joseph
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
The Naval War of 1812: A Complete History by Theodore Roosevelt is a history of the US naval battles in the War of 1812. Roosevelt 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, author, and soldier (posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his role ...more
Ron
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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..."
Lynne Marrs
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Phrodrick
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bully Plus Broadsides - Wooden Ships and Iron Men

What most readers may not know is that this book was something of a standard history at the U S Navel Academy and in British universities. TR was a very much a superior historian, if still a man of his times.

This is a critical history and not for light entertainment. TR makes a serious analysis of nearly every important engagement between American units and the British. In every case he is scrupulous about praising and blaming where he believe pr
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Carol
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This rating has more to do with the version of the book that I read (Kindle) than the book itself. The Kindle edition had no readable charts (all lumped together & hard to read) or diagrams, which made understanding what was going on more difficult.

It seems that the issue of the book was the historical accounts which had been written up til this book was written. There is constant commentary throughout the book on previous authors & their accuracy, based on government records. The Briti
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Bobby
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a amazing book utterly impossible to accurately rate simply with stars. The writing is technically methodical and surprisingly eloquent but sophomoric compared to Teddy's later writings (something that will be obvious if you read the version with his additional chapter on the Battle of New Orleans written a decade or two after the first edition.) This is entirely excusable as he was 23 when it was published and all the more amazing considering he did not have significant navel experienc ...more
Mark Fallon
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's amazing that Roosevelt wrote this when he was only 23 years old. His language foreshadows his actions as Undersecretary of the Navy and later as Commander In Chief.

This was a difficult book to read, as I have no experience with ships or naval terms. However, it was enjoyable to read TR's castigation of the British historian William James. But he doesn't only tackle the Brits, but has some choice words for some American leaders, including Thomas Jefferson.
Stephen Masri
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not this version
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
...more
Mark
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-history
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
Joe
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Frederick
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
James Akins Jr
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nat
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Don
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
B.N. Peacock
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Frank Havlik
Not an easy reading but it is a fascinating account of the Naval War. My 1880's copy was missing a few pages of the battle for New Orleans and was 100 pages longer than the one pictured but it was worth the read. This book is full of statistics for each battle, so it may not be of interest to those who like a nice overview or get easily bored with analytics.
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
Mar 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Kelly Korby
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to love details and numbers and intricate descriptions of the various ship battles to enjoy this book . I gave it 4 stars simply for the fact it was written by Theodore Roosevelt
Kingsley
Very detailed and great study of history, full of facts.

Just not reader friendly, as it is so full of ship tonnage comparisons and other details.
Duane Donecker
Excellent book, be prepared however a lot of 19th century naval termanology is used as well as a lot of technical information
Kuzriel
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good for thesis. Showing Roosevelt's diversity.
Papias
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nautical
I'm fairly certain that Teddy really wanted to title this book, "William M. James is full of ..."
Bob
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Teddy was quite a good write in his early years.
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.
Garrett Olinde
rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2016
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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., also known as T.R., and to the public (but never to friends and family) 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, autho
...more
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