John K. Mahon, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, is the author of History of the Second Seminole War and History of the Militia and the National Guard, among others.
The War Of 1812by John K. Mahon
The War of 1812 is a perfect example of how a war should not be conducted. Congress failed to supply sufficient revenue to support the ill-equipped, poorly trained militia. There was little effective coordination of the war effort from Washington. The American people themselves were sharply divided over the nation’s involvement, and many states failed to… See more details below
The War of 1812 is a perfect example of how a war should not be conducted. Congress failed to supply sufficient revenue to support the ill-equipped, poorly trained militia. There was little effective coordination of the war effort from Washington. The American people themselves were sharply divided over the nation’s involvement, and many states failed to mobilize their militias when directed by the government, declaring that the federal demands were unconstitutional. From the Battle of Tippecanoe to the Treaty of Ghent, John K. Mahon’s War of 1812 is the definitive story of this blunder-filled episode in American history. Here are the exciting tales of Zachary Taylor’s brave defense of Fort Harrison; the massacre at Fort Mims; the duel between the frigates Constitution and Java off the coast of Brazil; the disaster at the River Raisin; William Hull’s loss of Detroit and his subsequent court-martial for treason and cowardice; Francis Scott Key’s composition of ”The Star Spangled Banner”; the contest for naval supremacy on the Great Lakes; the burning of Washington; and the Battle of New Orleans. Detailed enough for scholars, yet vivid enough for the general reader, Mahon’s study will remain the standard source for anyone who wishes to gain a complete understanding of the War of 1812.
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Mahon sought to write a definitive history of the War of 1812 and he succeeded for the most part. This book is a bit old (first published in 1972) but the research is solid and the author was a university professor specializing in early American military history before he retired. This book is detailed enough that a reader would not have to consult other sources for more information but it is also not too detailed so that the larger picture is lost. It is written for the scholar but is more than understandable for the general reader interested in history. Black & white pictures and maps are spread sparingly throughout the book but I would have preferred the maps to be a little bigger/more clear because a lot of detail is shrunk into a small space. The author includes a detailed bibliography in the back split into primary and secondary sources that he used. He also includes are large section of notes near the end that correspond with pages for readers that seek additional information. Overall,this book is an excellent resource for readers interested in the War of 1812. It is well researched and while the author is American, he portrays all sides quite equally.