The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814by Anthony S. Pitch
The British invasion of Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1814 was a defining moment in the coming-of-age of the United States. The British torched the Capitol, the White House, and many other public buildings, setting off an inferno that illuminated the countryside for miles and forced President James Madison to gallop out of town while his wife, Dolly, stayed… See more details below
The British invasion of Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1814 was a defining moment in the coming-of-age of the United States. The British torched the Capitol, the White House, and many other public buildings, setting off an inferno that illuminated the countryside for miles and forced President James Madison to gallop out of town while his wife, Dolly, stayed behind to rescue a life-size portrait of George Washington from the flames. Anthony Pitch tells the dramatic story with all the immediacy of an eyewitness account. His gripping narrative is filled with details of the attack, including the exact location of scorch marks still to be found on White House stones. But Pitch doesn't confine his story to Washington. He also describes the brave, resourceful defense of nearby Fort McHenry, circumstances that led Francis Scott Key, a detainee on a British warship in the Baltimore harbor during the fort's bombardment, to write a poem that became the national anthem.
Meet the Author
Anthony S. Pitch is the author of a number of books including The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814, a selection of the History Book Club and winner of the Arline Custer Memorial Prize and Maryland Historical Society’s annual book award. He has been featured on outlets ranging from NPR to The History Channel to C-Span to Fox News and is a highly sought-after public speaker. A former journalist in England, Africa, and Israel, Pitch has been a broadcast editor for the Associated Press and a senior writer for US News and World Report’s Books division. He lives in a Washington, DC, suburb.
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This book is exceptionally well written and well sourced. The War of 1812 has been called a "forgotten war." From the very beginning, Pitch makes clear the divisions between those who were pro-war and those who were against it, and the violence Americans were capable of inflicting on their fellow countrymen is shocking. It is simply the best book I've read about the war, and I have read many. Readers will not be disappointed.
This is an excellent study into the social and political aspects of the incident. Details the actions of the people of Washington and each, and it would seem every, dish that was broken. The battles are cover only mildly to bring you to the 'burning' and afterwards to bring conclusion. A wonderful book for the interested reader, but not so much for military battle analysis. Honestly, I found Walter Lord's book to be worth a second read.