The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies

( 16 )

Overview

"In this deeply researched and clearly written book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor tells the riveting story of a war that redefined North America. During the early nineteenth century, Britons and Americans renewed their struggle over the legacy of the American Revolution. Soldiers, immigrants, settlers, and Indians fought in a northern borderland to determine the fate of a continent. Would revolutionary republicanism sweep the British from Canada? Or would the British empire contain, divide, and ruin the shaky American

... See more details below
Hardcover
$25.49
BN.com price
(Save 27%)$35.00 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (30) from $6.28   
  • New (9) from $13.96   
  • Used (21) from $6.28   
The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price

Overview

"In this deeply researched and clearly written book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor tells the riveting story of a war that redefined North America. During the early nineteenth century, Britons and Americans renewed their struggle over the legacy of the American Revolution. Soldiers, immigrants, settlers, and Indians fought in a northern borderland to determine the fate of a continent. Would revolutionary republicanism sweep the British from Canada? Or would the British empire contain, divide, and ruin the shaky American republic?" "In a world of double identities, slippery allegiances, and porous boundaries, the leaders of the republic and of the empire struggled to control their own diverse peoples. The border divided Americans---former Loyalists and Patriots---who fought on both sides in the new war, as did native peoples defending their homelands. Serving in both armies, Irish immigrants battled one another, reaping charges of rebellion and treason. And dissident Americans flirted with secession while aiding the British as smugglers and spies." "During the war, both sides struggled to sustain armies in a northern land of immense forests, vast lakes, and stark seasonal swings in the weather. In that environment, many soldiers panicked as they fought their own vivid imaginations, which cast Indians as bloodthirsty savages. After fighting each other to a standstill, the Americans and the British concluded that they could safely share the continent along a border that favored the United States at the expense of Canadians and Indians. Both sides then celebrated victory by forgetting their losses and by betraying the native peoples." A vivid narrative of an often brutal (and sometimes comic) war that reveals much about the tangled origins of the United States and Canada.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

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.

Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Taylor (William Cooper’s Town) presents the War of 1812 not as the conventionally understood “second war for independence,” but as a civil war waged in the context of a U.S.-Canadian boundary barely separating “kindred peoples, recently and incompletely divided by the revolution.” , Upper Canada (Ontario) was the scene of bitter conflict between two sets of immigrants: Loyalist refugees from the Revolutionary War and more recent American arrivals hoping to bring the region into the U.S. In New England, antiwar sentiment was strong enough to bring the region close to secession. Irish immigrants, many of them republican in sympathy, found Canada, with its developing monarchical ethos, less than welcoming. The Indians of the Northwest found themselves sandwiched between two alien and expansionist cultures unconcerned for Native Americans’ welfare. The result was a drawn-out, indecisive war, but in the long run the four-way conflict that Taylor so convincingly describes was decisive in transforming a permeable frontier into a boundary separating “the king’s subject and the republic’s citizen.” 80 illus.; 2 maps. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews

A Bancroft and Pulitzer Prize–winning historian's unconventional and revealing take on one of America's least understood wars.

The majority of the fighting during the War of 1812 occurred along the indistinct boundary between Loyalist Canada and the breakaway colonies. Paying scant attention to other theaters of the war, New Republic contributing editor Taylor (History/Univ. of California, Davis;The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution, 2006, etc.) chronicles all the signal battles—for the most part a tale of American fecklessness—in this "borderlands rather than national...history." The geographic frame better serves the author's overriding aim, elucidating the intense civil nature of the conflict, in which the allegiance of the continent's peoples remained uncertain. In addition to the maneuvering for control of Upper Canada, Taylor identifies three other dimensions to the civil war: the Irish republican immigrants to America continuing their insurrection within the empire and facing off against their native countrymen who composed the bulk of British troops; the Indian tribes pitted against each other; and the shrill partisanship between Federalists and Republicans, which threatened to dissolve the Union over the war's aims and conduct. These components of civil strife overlapped and extended to a range of issues including the composition and effectiveness of militias, the high incidence of defection and treason and the treatment of prisoners. The author writes especially well about the Patriot dream of conquering Canada and the Loyalists' desire to recover America, the transition of American war aims from acquiring territory to merely maintaining military honor, the foul life of the soldier and the controversies over scalping on the frontier and impressment on the high seas. Most Americans reduce the War of 1812 to three episodes: the bombardment of Fort McHenry, the British burning of the White House and Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans. Taylor's nuanced treatment explains how a war that ended in stalemate still resolved the unfinished business of the Revolution, decisively dividing the continent between republic and empire.

An assiduously researched, brilliantly composed explication of the war's true nature.

From the Publisher
“Remarkable and deeply researched. . . . Taylor masterfully captures the strangeness of this war.”
—Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books

“Easily the most sophisticated book ever written about a conflict that is often either neglected or seriously misunderstood. . . . Taylor’s discussions of diplomatic and political maneuvering are woven with military set-pieces into a powerful narrative. . . . [This] book affirms his gifts for prodigious research.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Credit Taylor with blowing most of the dust off America’s most forgotten war. This is history with a capital H.”
The Seattle Times
 
“A truly spellbinding narrative. Unlike other books on the War of 1812, [Taylor’s] is about the hearts and minds of the people who planned it, fought it and lived through it. Almost every page brings a revelation.”
The Toronto Star

“In this deeply researched and clearly written book, [Taylor] tells the riveting story of a war that redefined North America.”
The Washington Times
 
“Comprehensive. . . . Taylor’s account of a land war that roughly divided people with a common culture and heritage provides a new dimension for an understanding of 1812.”
The Boston Globe
 
“An impressively accessible history. . . . A perceptively nuanced take on a war often forgotten or misunderstood. . . . Taylor offers persuasive arguments, a lively narrative.”
Richmond Times Dispatch
 
“Taylor gives a fascinating account of the war and shows its importance to the fragile new republic in a book filled with stories about the people who instigated, commanded and fought in the conflict.”
—The Associated Press
 
“Taylor serves up a corrective in [this] fact-laden account. . . . Nicely captures the confusion of a ‘minor’ war with major consequences.”
—­The Newark Star-Ledger
 
“Taylor’s beautifully written book offers a War of 1812 that’s no longer an insignificant afterthought to the American Revolution, but its final, decisive act.”
Maclean’s
 
“As is his talented wont, Taylor puts the war into perspective, positing that it redefined the North American continent.”
Asbury Park Press (New Jersey)
 
“Thoroughly researched. . . . Taylor illuminates an arena generally omitted from military histories of the war. Battles and campaigns do connect his account, however, which will stand history collections in good stead for a very long while.”
Booklist

The Barnes & Noble Review

The War of 1812 is an uncertain affair in American memory and legend. Its touchstones -- the composition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the burning of Washington -- tend to overshadow the roots and consequences of the three-year conflict. Historian Alan Taylor offers a corrective in The Civil War of 1812, arguing that the United States used the war to consolidate its victory in the American Revolution and become a fully sovereign nation.

Scholars frequently portray the war as a draw between Britain and the United States; each side of course thinks that it won. But to Taylor, bragging rights are less interesting than ethnicity and allegiance: the war was a pastiche of loyalties and rivalries between Americans, Canadians, Irish, American Indians, slaves, and Britons. In a bold rhetorical move, Taylor recasts a frequently overlooked conflict not merely as pivotal to the development of the United States, but as a "civil war" for the North American continent.

The war's main cause was British disruption of American maritime commerce. The British Navy seized (or "impressed”) sailors on American-flagged ships, claiming them for service in His Majesty's great campaign against Napoleon. Britain defined its subjects by the location of their birth -- even those who, like many Irish, had become naturalized U.S. citizens. To the American government, divided politically and still unsure of itself, this act of contemptuous presumption was not merely emasculating, it was reactionary:

By seizing supposed subjects from merchant ships, the royal Navy threatened to reduce American sailors and commerce to a quasi-colonial status, for every British impressments was an act of counterrevolution. By resisting impressments and declaring war, the Americans defended their revolution.

If only the Americans had had the chops to do so! Taylor's book chronicles a blundering military ineptitude that will color the patriotic reader's cheek. For the first half of the war, the United States lacked able military leaders and foolishly tried to invade and seize Canada, Britain's foothold on the continent. (Taylor limits his focus to that theater, skimming over well-chronicled battles in New Orleans and Baltimore.) Whereas the British were battle-hardened veterans of the Napoleonic wars, the Americans were weekend warriors more interested in cutting taxes than raising an army. Also, they were terrified of Indians, with whom the British cunningly allied. Taylor vividly recreates the dread that Indian warriors, with their scalp-taking, corpse-mutilating, and "appalling war whoop", inspired in the trembling American regular and militiaman. When no Indians were handy, the British impersonated them: "we yelled like Indians. I tell you those simple fellows did run." Not only did the Americans fail to seize Canada, they lost Detroit.

Taylor argues that nationality and loyalty were fluid variables that ebbed and flowed like initiative trading hands on the battlefield. Irish republicans joined the Americans against their English oppressors, while African Americans offered their own services to the crown, which renounced slavery. Many Canadians were erstwhile American citizens who had gone north in search of cheap land; "[w]eary of both armies, [they] longed for one side to win so that both would go away." Native American tribes helped swing early momentum to the British, but were abandoned at the Treaty of Ghent (1815), which ended hostilities by returning Canada and America to their pre-war borders. Whereas the United States failed to expand northwards, it used the war's end to split the tribes from England and to seize their land in the west. The war's greatest American hero, future president Andrew Jackson, was a man with an ugly talent for clearing a field of native opponents.

Taylor tells this complex story with nuance and humor. Readers will grin at his infrequent but effective use of wry phrases like the U.S.'s belief that "French Canadians would welcome a liberation," and the American officers who "partied like it was 1799." A dense book of history requires a little cheek to stay lively, and Taylor is the rare writer who can pull this off without becoming a ham. But is he right that this was a civil war? Yes and no. It is true that the English, American, and Canadian combatants shared a language and looked alike, and for that reason hated to fight each other. Then again, Taylor's theses coexist in tension: civil war suggests a nation tearing itself apart, yet Taylor portrays the War of 1812 as a prerequisite to full nationhood. As one British spy characterized the decentralized American republic, "Seventeen staves and no hoop will not make a barrel that will last long." Such was the shape of the young country in 1812. By 1815, the coopering was finished and the thing stood up on its own. The United States would never again be mistaken for a British colony.

--Michael O'Donnell

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400042654
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 805,757
  • Product dimensions: 6.72 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 1.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Maine, Alan Taylor teaches American and Canadian history at the University of California, Davis. His books include The Divided Ground, Writing Early American History, American Colonies, and William Cooper’s Town, which won the Bancroft and Pulitzer prizes for American history. He also serves as a contributing editor to The New Republic.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Chapter One Loyalists 15

Chapter Two Simcoe 45

Chapter Three United Irishmen 75

Chapter Four Deserters 101

Chapter Five Blood 125

Chapter Six Invasions 147

Chapter Seven Crossings 175

Chapter Eight Scalps 203

Chapter Nine Flames 235

Chapter Ten Northern Lights 269

Chapter Eleven Traitors 295

Chapter Twelve Soldiers 319

Chapter Thirteen Prisoners 353

Chapter Fourteen Honor 381

Chapter Fifteen Peace 409

Chapter Sixteen Aliens 441

Notes 459

Bibliography 571

Acknowledgments 601

Index 605

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    1 Star Reviews

    Posting rants about the pricing are terribly unhelpful to anyone deciding if the content of the book is worth purchasing. Buyers can clearly tell what the price is. Airing petty grievances manipulates reviews and undermines the rating system. I wish BN would go through and cull reviews that do not review the book (including this one) so readers can know the most important aspects of the book- like is it a well written, well researched and informative read without digging through rubbish.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2012

    OK but better choices out there

    It's nice to see more about Canada in the War of 1812, but it leaves out the South entirely (by the author's own admission). That's fine but buyers should be aware that they are getting a details study of one part of the war, not a comprehensive look. As a results, it's sometimes hard to figure out how Taylor's small slice fits into the wider North American and world picture. It's also very long for what it is.

    Not a bad boo, but not a great one either.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 5, 2012

    price gripes are ---useless

    A gripe about anything other than content of the book and quality
    thereof should kept out of reviews

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    GREAT BOOK

    Very informative and learned a lot about the war

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 21, 2011

    The book is great. I read it on my Droid!

    At $28 for an ebook the history book business is going to dry up. Outrageous price! I borrowed the book from the local library and decided to get an e copy. I downloaded the book for $17 from a competitor. I will not pay B&N prices for ebooks. We purchasers have too many alternatives to be held in thrall by any one system.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2011

    overpriced

    I am unable to review this book because it cost too much to buy in ebook format. Why does the nook ebook version cost so much? I decided NOT to buy it because of price. It cost $11 more than a Kindle version and it cost more than the hardback version. So what is going on with nookbooks anyway?

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Price

    Sorry to be one of those reviewers who gives one star because of the price. But why does this cost far more than what I could buy the print version for ?

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)