Academic journal article Military Review

Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation

Academic journal article Military Review

Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation

Article excerpt

THROUGH THE PERILOUS FIGHT: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation

Steve Vogel, Random House, New York, 2013, 522 pages, $30.00

In the course of celebrations of its bicentennial, America's war of 1812 (which dragged into 1815) is getting some warranted attention. Renewed war with Britain posed a serious test for a young America that was still sorting out its institutions, not to mention its very identity. Nothing better attests to the fragility of America's position in the world at that time than the British strike on Washington in the summer of 1814, which left the U.S. capital a smoking emblem of humiliation.

Author Steve Vogel, an accomplished writer and popular historian, has stitched together a stirring and colorful account of Britain's fateful drive to defeat the United States in the third year of the war. Drawing extensively from first-person recollections, he invites the reader to see breaking developments from multiple perspectives. From the British side, he focuses on Rear Adm. George Cockburn, describing him as "ruthless and witty" and "determined to make Americans pay a hard price for their ill-considered war with Great Britain." In his many character sketches, Vogel captures the spectrum of emotional states conjured up by the struggle from contempt and arrogance to fear and rage. Among the central players is Francis Scott Key. Key was a lawyer and friend of James Madison's administration who found himself in the unlikely position of watching the British attack on Baltimore from a vessel of the Royal Navy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.