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The Naval War Of 1812

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  44 reviews
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published June 17th 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1902)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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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 while still in college.

Even given those excuses, this is not a readable tome. Many chapters repeat information and arguments given in previous chapters. And R
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
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..."
Eric S
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read but not for someone who isn't into history and doesn't have at least a passing knowledge of how sailing ships operate. The language is very much 19th Century. The author does a very good job of presenting both sides. The descriptions of vessel weight, tonnage, crew strength and armament are as complete as existing documents allow and are very careful to give both the British and American differences in how ships were rated.
A major drawback is the author is very repetitive in his
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mer by: David McCollough; interview at Nat'l Book Festival 2017
David McCollough mentioned this book during an interview at the 2017 National Book Festival.
I don't recommend it as a light read as it goes into incredible detail of each ship on the various sizes and explains why one ship type, combination of fire power, or crew did better than the others.
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
Lynne Marrs
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Joseph Spuckler
Oct 08, 2020 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
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a work that deserves to be read (or listened to, in my case) on two levels. The first is simply as a piece of naval history, and on that front it is simultaneously thorough, rigorous, and a touch pedantic. Only the most ardent of naval history buffs or Patrick O'Brian enthusiasts will enjoy the detailed battle descriptions (I count myself among at least the latter camp, and I found my attention waning at multiple points). And yet Roosevelt manages to keep a narrative moving forward, and ...more
Jeffrey Margolis
Theodore Roosevelt was the most prolific of all of the US Presidents who wrote books. He was the author of over forty works that transcended his life from his years at college to his post presidency life. The Naval War of 1812 was Roosevelt's first book. It started as his senior thesis while at Harvard and was published after his graduation. The book goes into meticulous detail of the naval engagements during the war, including the names of the captains and officers, ship types and size as well ...more
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 British histo
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
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
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Very detailed, somewhat of a rebuttal to Sir James’ misstatements and misrepresentations in his particular account of the war, very scholarly ( for the most part) account of the war. His recounting of the battle of New Orleans however, is very colorful and literary, but nonetheless factual.

Where he is not going by one particular set of facts or another, he is careful to explain his reasoning for presenting the information he does choose for these chronicles.

This is a book with a ton of technica
Robin Banks
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully engaging book about naval warfare. Most naval books are all great men doing great deeds on the high seas. In this book Roosevelt explains why the battles are won, and what the victory means, politically and militarily. An example, he says about several battles that hey show nothing more than that, when more people or cannons meet fewer, the more almost always wins. As an exception to this, he describes Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans by noting that he laid out his battlemen ...more
Mark Fallon
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dylan Frendlich
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
As someone who isn’t a naval history buff this was a very difficult read not because the topic was not interesting but because of how poorly this was written don’t get me wrong it’s very well researched and sourced but it is very clunky. Honestly only read this if you are into Naval history or else you are just punishing yourself.
Jack Laschenski
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A literary and and scholarly triumph, written when Roosevelt was 23 years old.

Britain had 1,100 warships.

The U.S. had 15, including Old Ironsides.

We won!!!
C. William
Theodore Roosevelt is one of my heroes, But I just could not get into this book. Down the road Ill try again
Sarjoun Skaff
More of a historical textbook than intended for a wide audience
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can’t comment on Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency because I don’t know that much about it. But I can say that he was a very fine naval analyst.
George Polansky
A good reference but not an easy read for the general public.
Peter Goodman
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing

“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
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
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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. ...more
B.N. Peacock
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition 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.
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.
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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

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