Rare firsthand accounts from Native Americans who fought in the War of 1812. Native peoples played major roles in the War of 1812 as allies of both the United States and Great Britain, but few wrote about their conflict experiences. Two famously wrote down their stories: Black Hawk, the British-allied chief of the still-independent Sauks from the upper Mississippi, and American soldier William Apess, a Christian convert from the Pequots who lived on a reservation in Connecticut. Carl Benn explores the wartime passages of their autobiographies, in which they detail their decisions to take up arms, their experiences in the fighting, their broader lives within the context of native-newcomer relations, and their views on such critical issues as aboriginal independence. Scholars, students, and general readers interested in indigenous and military history in the early American republic will appreciate these important memoirs, along with Benn's helpful introductions and annotations.
Listen to a short interview with Jon Latimer Host: Chris Gondek - Producer: Heron & Crane In the first complete history of the War of 1812 written from a British perspective, Jon Latimer offers an authoritative and compelling account that places the conflict in its strategic context within the Napoleonic wars. The British viewed the War of 1812 as an ill-fated attempt by the young American republic to annex Canada. For British Canada, populated by many loyalists who had fled the American Revolution, this was a war for survival. The Americans aimed both to assert their nationhood on the global stage and to expand their territory northward and westward. Americans would later find in this war many iconic moments in their national story--the bombardment of Fort McHenry (the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner); the Battle of Lake Erie; the burning of Washington; the death of Tecumseh; Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans--but their war of conquest was ultimately a failure. Even the issues of neutrality and impressment that had triggered the war were not resolved in the peace treaty. For Britain, the war was subsumed under a long conflict to stop Napoleon and to preserve the empire. The one lasting result of the war was in Canada, where the British victory eliminated the threat of American conquest, and set Canadians on the road toward confederation. Latimer describes events not merely through the eyes of generals, admirals, and politicians but through those of the soldiers, sailors, and ordinary people who were directly affected. Drawing on personal letters, diaries, and memoirs, he crafts an intimate narrative that marches the reader into the heat of battle.