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From Barnes & Noble
Over the years, I've read several books and articles by Dr. Alan Taylor, including his Pulitzer Prize-winning history William Cooper's Village. It was the afterglow of those books that made me pick up The Civil War of 1812. For me, like most Americans, the War of 1812 is remembered, if at all, as a minor conflict with perhaps a few sketchy images of "Don't Give Up the Ship" heroics and the triumphant Battle of New Orleans. Taylor's brilliantly researched narrative history presents it instead as a fascinating. intricate continuation of the War of Independence, a peculiarly knotted struggle among U.S. political factions, British colonialists, Irish immigrants, and, far from least least, Native American warriors on both sides. The conduct of the war itself was hardly glorious: Commanders were generally incompetent; troops, frightened, ill-trained, and woefully supplied; and battles frequently degenerated rapidly into routs and rounds of looting. This wonderfully readable narrative history replaces our cartoon conceptions of this unsplendid little war with a full picture of its human complexity.