The War Of 1812 (The Chicago History Of American Civilization)

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This compact history of the war attempts to separate myth from reality. Professor Coles narrates the main operations on both land and sea of the three-year struggle. He examines the conflict from the British (and Canadian) as well as the American point of view, relating events in America to the larger war going on in Europe.

A balanced analysis of tactics and strategy, this book also summarizes succinctly and clearly recent scholarship on causes and describes briefly the war's military, economic, and political consequences. Coles has surveyed thoroughly the existing literature but arrives at a number of independent judgments. It is the best single-volume account of the war in all its aspects. In recounting sea battles, Coles puts aside the patriotic blinders that have for so long prevented a sensible understanding of American capabilities and strategic necessities; thus American naval victories are put in a proper perspective. And in dealing with land engagements, he has shunned the mocking and amused attitude which has so often passed for historical judgment. Undergraduates will be stimulated by the hints of modern parallels and will find useful the excellent annotated bibliography and simple maps. Choice

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