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War of 1812 Bicentennial Essential Reading List

GR66

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With this year marking the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, I was wanting to brush up on my knowledge of the subject.  Not having read anything very recent (published within the last 15-20 years likely), I'm looking for book recommendations from those knowledgeable on the subject.  I'll be honest in stating that I'm unlikely to read more than 2 or 3 books on the subject and not likely to dig too deeply for particularly hard to find titles.

I'd love to hear your recommendations for at least one solid general history/overview of the War and maybe one or two other books (could be on any specific topic/campaign/battle/individual) that you found particularly interesting or insightful. 

Thanks in advance!
 

jeffb

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I see you are at Borden... This weekend there is a symposium being held at the University of Guelph that I am going to. Apparently there are over 300 people going and it's a variety of topics on the bicentennial of the war of 1812.

http://livinghistoryconference.com/
 

dapaterson

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For a quick audio synopsis, the following link may be of use.

http://www.deadtroll.com/1812/index.html
 

cphansen

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You might try reading Fix Bayonets!: A Royal Welch Fusilier at War, 1796-1815

It covers a bit more than just the war of 1812 in telling the story Of General Pearson. It touches on the Peninsular campaign. The general rose from the rank of Major to becpning the Brigade commander because he was the only officer above the rank of Captain who was still on his feet.

As a result of being wounded he was sent to Canada before the war of 1812. He came to be called the Tartar by the Canadian Militia because of his demanding ways. He actually demanded that the officers performed their duties as prescribed by upper authority, not just the duties the officers wanted to. He actually had a great influence on the Canadian Militia in Upper Canada. The book goes into a lot of detail on the building up of the canadian forces, tells a few scandalous stories and explains a lot of things like the importance of the Town of Prescott and Ogdensburg on the Americian side, these are towns on opposite banks of the St Lawrence river. The importance of Fort Wellington and the Battle of the Wingmill.

The book is well written covers its material well and gives you a good insight to the British Forces and the Napoleonic wars and as such helps you understand the War of 1812, not just as a list of battles but helps you understand the personalites behind the commanders
 

Old Sweat

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You could do a lot worse than to read anything on the war by Donald E Graves, including his update and commentary on Hitsman's The Incredible War of 1812. While Don and I are good friends, I can say that he is probably the best Canadian authority on the war. He also is not too shabbly on NEW and his history of the South Alberta Regiment set a new standard for regimental histories. Don wrote the book about Pearson referred to above.

Need I add that he is a gunner, or at least a summer student militia gunner from Cobourg? I can add that he is receptive to reasoned criticism based on valid sources and is a quick study.
 

jeffb

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I had the great pleasure of seeing Dr Graves gives a lecture yesterday on the historiography of the war of 1812. The man is a treasure trove of information.

I'm currently plugging my way through War of 1812 by Jon Lattimer. The book is meticulous footnoted, always a good sign. What I really like about it though is that it is firmly anchored in the context of the Napoleonic Wars. Lattimer is British so he manages to avoid much of the pitfalls associated with War of 1812 literature such as the militia myth, 2nd war of independence or frankly any of the nationalist perspectives.

So far, I'd say it's a pretty good read and as a work of history, much better then the book that most people first read about the War of 1812...
 

Webgear

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I meet Jon Lattimer before his death a few years ago, a wonderful person.

Here are some links for material that will likely interests some of you.

http://www.fortyfirst.org/    41st Regiment of Foot,  Database

http://www.warof1812.ca/  War of 1812 Website,  Database

Another interesting book in my personal collection is called "A Veteran of 1812" by Mary Agnes FitzGibbon published in 1984.

 

daftandbarmy

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This is a first class article on the subject:

That time we beat the Americans...

http://walrusmagazine.com/articles/2012.03-essay-that-time-we-beat-the-americans/
 

GR66

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Thanks for the suggestions.  Unfortunately the local library had a pretty limited selection but I did get a good find in "Strange Fatality - The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813" by James E. Elliott.  It's a very well researched and footnoted book on a relatively small but important engagement in the 1813 Niagara campaign.  I thought it was a very even-handed look at the battle (and the context) with lots of detail on the personalities involved.

I've just picked up "A Signal Victory - The Lake Eerie Campaign, 1812 - 1813" by David Curtis.  When I'm done I'm going to try the Borden library for some of the other suggested reading.
 

Bass ackwards

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Have you read Pierre Berton's two volume set on the war:
The Invasion of Canada
and
Flames Across the Border ?
 
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