Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War by Hugh Howard
America's First Couple and the Second War of Independence

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Synopsis

August 28, 1814. Dressed in black, James Madison mourns the nation's loss. Smoke rises from the ruin of the Capitol before him; a mile away stands the blackened shell of the White House. The British have laid waste to Washington City, and as Mr. Madison gazes at the terrible vista, he ponders the future-his country's defeat or victory-in a war he began over the unanimous objections of his political adversaries. As we approach its bicentennial, the War of 1812 remains the least understood of America's wars. To some it was a conflict that resolved nothing, but to others, it was our second war of independence, settling once and for all that America would never again submit to Britain. At its center was James Madison-our most meditative of presidents, yet the first one to declare war. And at his side was the extraordinary Dolley, who defined the role of first lady for all to follow, and who would prove perhaps her husband's most indispensable ally.

In this powerful new work, drawing on countless primary sources, acclaimed historian Hugh Howard presents a gripping account of the conflict as James and Dolley Madison experienced it. Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War rediscovers a conflict fought on land and sea-from the shores of the Potomac to the Great Lakes-that proved to be a critical turning point in American history.

Advance praise for Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War :

"Hugh Howard has turned the least known and understood war in American history into a Technicolor, wide-screen epic of thrilling naval battles, brutal backwoods skirmishes, villainous intrigue, and stirring heroism. Thanks to Howard's prodigious research, fine eye for the telling detail, and vivid prose, the War of 1812 seems as contemporary and compelling as yesterday's battlefield dispatches from the Middle East."-Thurston Clarke, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Campaign
 

About Hugh Howard

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Hugh Howard's numerous books include the definitive Thomas Jefferson, Architect; his memoir House-Dreams; the essay collection The Preservationist's Progress; and an introduction to the architecture of Williamsburg, Colonial Houses. He resides in upstate New York with his wife, writer Elizabeth Lawrence, and their two teenage daughters.
 
Published January 24, 2012 by Bloomsbury Press. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War

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The title is a bit misleading: Although Jefferson does have a significant and signal presence in the work, he is not the only figure Howard discusses.

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Kirkus Reviews

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The author delivers a skillful history of the war itself, launched after five years of frustration at British seizure of American merchant vessels and impressment of sailors.

Jan 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War: A...

Publishers Weekly

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This fluent if glamorized history of the War of 1812 mines what heroism and romance it can from the woeful record of American military ineptitude, cowardice, political dissension, and lackadaisical leadership.

Oct 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War: A...

Star Tribune

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Howard's book succeeds primarily as a military history, with engaging and energetic recountings of crushing defeat and splendid victories.

Jan 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War: A...

Washington Independent Review of Books

While in no way a full-blown account of the War of 1812, nor claiming to be so, Howard’s eminently readable tale provides readers a microcosm of the war as seen through the eyes of one of Washington, D.C.’s, early power couples, President James Madison and First Lady Dolley Madison.

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