Mr. and Mrs. Madison's war : America's first couple and the second war of independence / Hugh Howard ; [maps by Moacir de Sá Pereira].

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...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Howard, Hugh, 1952-
Other Authors: De Sá Pereira, Moacir.
Format: Book
Published: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2012.
Edition:1st U.S. ed.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Historian Howard (Thomas Jefferson: Architect) does find stirring moments, especially in his accounts of American frigates' underdog battles with the British fleet, which yield gore ("his lifeless body fell to the deck, severed in two") and gallantry aplenty, including Capt. James Lawrence's immortal last words, "Don't give up the ship!" (uttered just before the ship was, in fact, given up). The author's foregrounding of the first couple, especially in a set piece recreation of the British sack of Washington, is less edifying. As much as Howard talks up his statesmanship, President Madison seems a feckless commander-in-chief who needlessly took an unprepared country to war and never got a grip. And Dolley Madison's main impact was her star turn rescuing George Washington's portrait from the Redcoats. Still, Howard's entertaining saga extracts no little drama from an inglorious episode. B&w illus. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved