Don't Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812

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In this researched book by America's leading authority on the War of 1812, Donald R. Hickey dispels the many misconceptions that distort our view of America's second war with Great Britain. Embracing military, naval, political, economic, and diplomatic analysis, Hickey looks carefully at how the war was fought between 1812 and 1815, and how it was remembered thereafter. Hickey peels away fantasies and embellishments to explore why certain myths gained currency, and how they contributed to the way that the United States and Canada view themselves and each other.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[a] richly textured model of historical revisionism, which confirms Hickey's status as a leading scholar of the early national period."
Publishers Weekly

"In this quirky, encyclopedic debunking of the mythology of the war of 1812, Donald R. Hickey displays his peerless command of the field and, with his concise, highly opinionated writing style, unlocks many of the mysteries and details of what he insists was not a second war of independence. ... Don't Give Up the Ship! belongs on the shelf of everyone deeply interested in, or who writes about, the War of 1812." — Naval History, February 2007

"Donald R. Hickey's unique study Don't Give Up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812 addresses the myths, half truths, and realities of the forgotten last Anglo-American conflict. . . . The book provides a starting point for those seeking further information regarding the conflict and it should take its rightful place on the bookshelves of all War of 1812 buffs and scholars."—Journal of the Early Republic

Publishers Weekly
War making and mythmaking go hand in hand in Hickey's analysis of the misconceptions, embellishments and falsehoods that continue to shape Americans' views of the War of 1812. In describing the complicated origins, conduct and outcome of the conflict, Wayne State College history professor Hickey shows how myth has helped construct a history that we can understand and accept. Three 19th-century writers in particular-British naval historian William James, American popularizer Benson Lossing and man of letters Henry Adams-promoted already familiar stories of the war. While Hickey investigates, analyzes and critiques a spectrum of legends about the war's roots, its campaigns and armed forces, and its military and political leadership, he's no mere debunker. Stories like Col. Henry Johnson's killing of Tecumseh in hand-to-hand combat survive his scrutiny. And Capt. James Lawrence did say, "Don't give up the ship"-though those were not his last words. But Jean Lafitte's role in the Battle of New Orleans is diminished to the advantage of his brother Pierre. And blacks played a long-neglected role on both sides. These are only a few of the revelations awaiting readers of this richly textured model of historical revisionism, which confirms Hickey's status as a leading scholar of the early national period. 10 photos. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252074943
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 1,494,502
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald R. Hickey is a professor of history at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. His books include The War of 1812: The Forgotten Conflict, which won the National Historical Society Book Prize and the American Military Institute Best Book Award.

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Table of Contents

Prologue : the United States and Great Britain in the war-torn world 1
1 The causes of the war 12
2 Battles and campaigns 48
3 The maritime war 93
4 Soldiers, sailors, and civilians 137
5 The mechanics of waging war 225
6 The end of war 274
Epilogue : the legacy of the war 309
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