NYC Non-Fiction Book Club discussion

War of 1812

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message 1: by John (new)

John Lyo (john_lyo) | 1 comments Hi all, was wondering if anyone would be interested in reading a few books about the War of 1812. I just read a book on Madison's presidency and it briefly covered the geopolitical (Napoleon conquering Europe, England stopping American ships and seizing British citizens off them to impress them into naval duty on HMS ships, trying to drive a hard bargain against England by capturing Canada quickly) and domestic maneuverings (pro french sentiment, a popular war, expectation that a quick victory over canada and an advantageous peace treaty with england would benefit the republicans [not same republicans as today] for election) that led Madison to declare war on England. I would like a book that covers the pre war considerations and politics as well as the war itself and the incompetent generals who nearly lost a big chunk of the USA. And yet, at war's end the republicans were wildly popular, madison was re-elected, and Britain capitulated to peace terms which went back to basically the pre-war status quo (with great expense of lives and money on the US part, for nothing?)... madison's disastrous presidency hasnt hurt his image established during his younger days as a legislator... there are a couple books I'd suggest, the War of 1812 by henry adams, and War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict by Donald R. Hickey

message 2: by Lawrence A (new)

Lawrence A | 4 comments I read Hickey's book several years ago, and I agree that it was very well written and quite informative, particularly with respect to the political movements and pressures that brought about the [probably unnecessary] war, and the organized opposition to it, spearheaded by the Federalist party and quite prevalent throughout the northern states generally. I recently read A.J. Langguth's 2006 book entitled "Union 1812," which also focuses on the political causes and repercussions of the War of 1812, and concludes that the War of 1812 was America's "Second War of Independence," since it more-or-less finally resolved the issue of British military outposts in the old Northwest Territories, and removed them as a threat to America's free navigation of the Mississippi. I'd agree that Madison's presidency was a disaster, compared with his brilliance as the "father of the Constitution" and the author of the Bill of Rights during the First Congress in 1789. Back in 2005, when I was visiting some War of 1812 battle sites in the Thousand Islands Region of upstate New York [Sackett's Harbor and Alexandria Bay], I picked up a military history written from the British/Canadian point of view, entitled "The Incredible War of 1812" by Donald Hitsman. Maybe it's because I'm not that interested in military history per se, but I didn't find the book particularly riveting. Perhaps those who are more interested in that topic would find Hitsman's book more edifying.

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