1812 by George C. Daughan
The Navy's War

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At the outbreak of the War of 1812, America’s prospects looked dismal. It was clear that the primary battlefield would be the open ocean—but America’s war fleet, only twenty ships strong, faced a practiced British navy of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, the American navy managed to take the fight to the British and turn the tide of the war: on the Great Lakes, in the Atlantic, and even in the eastern Pacific.

In 1812: The Navy’s War, prizewinning historian George C. Daughan tells the thrilling story of how a handful of heroic captains and their stalwart crews overcame spectacular odds to lead the country to victory against the world’s greatest imperial power. A stunning contribution to military and national history, 1812: The Navy’s War is the first complete account in more than a century of how the U.S. Navy rescued the fledgling nation and secured America’s future.


About George C. Daughan

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George C. Daughan holds a Ph.D. in American history and government from Harvard University and won the 2008 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for his previous book, If By Sea. He resides in Portland, Maine.
Published October 4, 2011 by Basic Books. 530 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for 1812

Kirkus Reviews

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A naval expert’s readable take on the U.S. Navy’s surprising performance in the war that finally reconciled the British to America’s independence.

Aug 16 2011 | Read Full Review of 1812: The Navy's War

Publishers Weekly

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Daughan follows his award -wining If by Sea, about the American navy in the Revolutionary War, with a solidly researched, well-crafted account of U.S. sea power in the War of 1812.

Aug 01 2011 | Read Full Review of 1812: The Navy's War

The Washington Times

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In the end, the reader will know full well why some scholars call the War of 1812, “America’s Second War of Independence.” The reader should know that despite the subtitle, the book covers much more than “the Navy’s war.” While it’s true that the American frigate victories early in the war - the ...

Dec 19 2011 | Read Full Review of 1812: The Navy's War

Washington Independent Review of Books

The resulting Treaty of Ghent ended the war as both sides essentially agreed to table the very issues—impressments, free trade and other maritime rights—that had led to the war in the first place, and the British returned control of the Michigan Territory to the United States.

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City Book Review

“The rockets red glare illuminating the night sky and the bombs bursting in air inspired an American spectator aboard the 74-gun Minden, Francis Scott Key, to begin a poem that later became the national anthem.” With a sailor’s heart, Daughan follows the action of blue water battles on the Great...

Oct 04 2011 | Read Full Review of 1812: The Navy's War


On June 26, 1812, President James Madison signed a declaration of war against the most powerful maritime nation in the world: Great Britain.

Sep 09 2011 | Read Full Review of 1812: The Navy's War

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