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Children's LiteratureWhy is the White House white? How did Old Ironsides get her nickname? In what war was a major battle fought after the peace treaty was signed? These and many other questions are answered in this title in the "We the People" series. The origins of the war, including the trade disputes between Napoleon Bonaparte's France and the British, the Embargo Act sponsored by President Thomas Jefferson, and the activity of powerful pro-war advocates like Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun are discussed in the opening chapters, as is the impressment of U. S. sailors by the British navy. After the declaration of war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812, the early confidence of the Americans as they invaded Canada was quickly dissolved by a series of defeats and retreats which are described. The battles at Detroit, Queenstown Heights, Raisin River and Chrysler's Farm all ended in defeat for the American forces. Only on the water were Americans successful and the best known battle of the war is probably the victory by Oliver Hazard Perry on Lake Erie which resulted in his famous message, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." The subsequent invasions by British forces are clearly described by the author. The success of British troops in Washington, D. C. which resulted in the burning of the White House, The Treasury Building and the Library of Congress, followed by the defeat of the British at Fort McHenry (which inspired the famous poem by Francis Scott Key), and the failure of the British troops in a planned invasion of the United States at Lake Champlain, led both sides to seek peace by 1814. After months of discussion, the Treaty of Ghent was signed on Christmas Eve, 1814. It ended the war but didnothing to solve the problems which had led to the war. Amazingly, both sides claimed victory. The final major battle of the War of 1812 was fought in New Orleans after the peace treaty had been signed. This short book does an effective job of providing a clear, concise picture of this confusing period of American history. The text, illustrations, and study suggestions which include a glossary, lists of dates and people, research sources in both the library and on the web, and an index, all work together to make this a valuable addition to personal or public collections. 2005, Compass Point Books, Ages 9 to 12.