The War of 1812: Conflict for a Continent / Edition 1

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This book is a narrative history of the many dimensions of the War of 1812 – social, diplomatic, military, and political – which places the war's origins and conduct in transatlantic perspective. The events of 1812–1815 were shaped by the larger crisis of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. In synthesizing and reinterpreting scholarship on the war, Professor J. C. A. Stagg focuses on the war as a continental event, highlighting its centrality to Canadian nationalism and state development. The book introduces the war to students and general readers, concluding that it resulted in many ways from an emerging nation-state trying to contend with the effects of rival European nationalisms, both in Europe itself and in the Atlantic world.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Stagg (history, Univ. of Virginia; coeditor, The Papers of James Madison) here presents a somewhat different take on the War of 1812. He covers almost none of the naval history, instead analyzing the war's military, political, diplomatic, and social aspects from both a continental and a transatlantic perspective. In his first chapter, "War," he discusses President James Madison's war message to Congress, which cited as a justification the grievous events that had been occurring among the United States, Great Britain, and France since the end of the American Revolution in 1783. The next three chapters present the war chronologically, focusing on the military aspects, always with an eye to its causes and effects on the North American continent. The final chapter, "Peace," discusses various attempts at ending the conflict almost from the time it began to the December 1814 Treaty of Ghent, which theoretically put a stop to the shooting war. Stagg ably contends that the complete redress of grievances did not end until the 1830s. VERDICT This capably told account of complex issues should appeal to both students and scholars. It is also a fine choice for informed general readers.—David Lee Poremba, Windermere, FL
From the Publisher
"This is the most judicious general overview of the War of 1812 with which I am familiar. J. C. A. Stagg long ago established himself as a leading authority on President James Madison and his administration's handling of this too-often-neglected conflict. It is a tribute to Stagg - and a boon to readers - that he has been able to condense his immense expertise into such a readable and insightful book." - Andrew Cayton, Miami University

"Few scholars know the War of 1812 better than J. C. A. Stagg. Based on a lifetime of scholarship and an intimate knowledge of the papers of James Madison, Stagg captures the essence of the diplomatic, political, and military conflicts of the war in a masterful, cogent, concise, and readable book. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the War of 1812!" - Paul A. Gilje, University of Oklahoma

"A well-researched but masterfully succinct and complete account, this is destined to become the definitive short history of the United States at war in 1812-1815." - Donald E. Graves, author of Field of Glory: The Battle of Crysler's Farm, 1813 and Where Right and Glory Lead: The Battle of Lundy's Lane, 1814

"John Stagg's new book on the War of 1812 is a thoughtful and illuminating treatment of America's second war with Great Britain. As the longtime editor of the Madison papers, Stagg brings a special understanding of our fourth president to this project, and his treatment of the memory and legacy of the conflict is especially insightful. Experts and novices alike will find plenty to think about in this 'essential' history." - Donald R. Hickey, author of The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict and Don't Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812

"One of the most authoritative and balanced accounts of the War of 1812 ever written." - Gordon S. Wood, Professor of History Emeritus, Brown University

"...this splendid little book is an outstanding introduction to the historian's craft, the major historiographical issues related to the War of 1812, and a narrative overview, with serious analysis, of the most significant events of the war, its causes, course and conclusion." -Robert Swan, The Washington Independent Review of Books

"Stagg's slim volume offers readers a surefooted guide through the tickets of American political intrigue and international affairs...." -Nelson Lankford, The Weekly Standard

" excellent, focused introductory text to the background, course, and results of the War." -Frederick C. Leiner, The Northern Mariner

"Recommended." -Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521726863
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2012
  • Series: Cambridge Essential Histories Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,369,353
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

J. C. A. Stagg is Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of two books on James Madison, as well as many articles on the political, military and diplomatic history of the early American republic. He has edited or co-edited seventeen volumes of the papers of James Madison. He currently serves on the editorial board of the War of 1812 Magazine and the board of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Commission.

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Table of Contents

1. War; 2. 1812; 3. 1813; 4. 1814; 5. Peace.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2013

    Authoritative, well-researched and readable. But, even though su

    Authoritative, well-researched and readable. But, even though succinct, the year-by-year details may be too much for those seeking a general overview of what the war was about, how it was fought, and its social and poltical consequences. In fact those subjects are handled superbly in the lengthy introduction and conclusion. I mostly skimmed the parts in between, though I did uncover nuggets of great interest. If you are looking for an accessible and more detailed account than I desired this may be a good and higher rated choice for you.

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