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1812 Hardcover – July, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 445 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (July 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312855109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312855109
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ten bestselling authors have contributed blurbs to Nevin's second novel (after the bestselling Dream West, 1983)?among them fellow historical novelists Gary Jennings, James Michener and John Jakes. Nevin incorporates traits of all three in his re-creation of the War of 1812: Jennings's intense detailing, Michener's sweep and Jakes's passion for America all surface here at times, though what results is less a glorious work of historical art than an insistently intriguing animated tableau. The narrative can be terribly talky, especially in the beginning. An early scene in the White House featuring President James Madison and a visiting General Andrew Jackson, who wants to take Canada by force from Britain, crams enough political, military and cultural information into dialogue between the two to fill a history lesson?no surprise, since Nevin writes history books for the Time-Life series. Yet, in this very scene, Jackson and Madison, modeled with care, come to some sort of virtual life. As war begins between Britain and the U.S., culminating in the writing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and the burning of Washington, D.C., Nevin, helping himself with particularly vigorous battle scenes, conveys a kind of grandeur. This is, in essence, a patriotic pageant, but it's one crammed with color and captivating characters, and a good bet to follow in Dream West's footsteps as a TV miniseries. $150,000 ad/ promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This sprawling historical novel, with colorful characters ranging from Andrew Jackson to Winfield Scott, will certainly have some guaranteed appeal. Nevin's (Dream West, 1983) ability to sum up historical events in readable prose serves to bring to life a somewhat obscure corner of U.S. history, the War of 1812. Especially well executed are the battle scenes, which are narrated from the field and manage to retain a clear picture of the overall events. Nicely drawn maps of battles and troop movements lend an added air of authority and clarity to the proceedings. Some of Nevin's attempts to make full-blooded human beings of his characters?from Dolley and James Madison to Andrew and Rachel Jackson?by giving them a love life are less than effective. Still, this is recommended wherever there is interest in historical fiction.
-?David Glenn Dodd, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

I do not usually read a book more than once, but I know this book will be read and reread.
slickwilli@hotmail.com
David Nevin has done a great job of weaving fiction and historical facts into a fast-paced and interesting novel that spans this period of history.
GeorgiaWriter
A "must read" for history teachers and history lovers; recommended as extra reading for students high school and above.
P. Oakley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By James A. White on August 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is quite simply the best history book I've ever read, whether it's non-fiction, a textbook, or historical fiction (as this one is), regardless of the time period or country involved. The book goes very in-depth on the War of 1812 and hits you with constant facts, but you'll never be bored. It's all presented in story format with lots of dialogue that isn't really very stilted or different from our own. It sounds more like ours when we're just trying to sound good. The descriptive passages are exciting and easy to read.

Six main people make up the fabric of this novel: Pres. James and Dolly Madison are in Washington, D.C., running the country and throwing Dolley's famous political balls. The excitement as Dolley runs from the burning White House is tangible. Next, is Andrew and Rachel Jackson, first at home in Nashville, TN, and then with Andrew on the warfront. First, he battles the Seminole Indians in Florida and eventually takes on the British in New Orleans. Finally, Winfield Scott leads his troops in amazing land victories while getting occasional visits from his Washington girlfriend, the daughter of a newspaper magnate and the only main fictional character in the novel.

This book makes you realize, for the first time, what war truly is. It isn't dropping bombs from the air on nameless and faceless people. It's seeing your enemy eye-to-eye, and occasionally fighting him hand-to-hand for the sake of your country's survival, amid political turmoil and threat of secession. Remember: War is hell! This book is heaven!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By slickwilli@hotmail.com on April 22, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I passed this book 3-4 times before I decided to pick it up, and that was only because nothing else looked interesting. I have tried to read American history books, but they bored me. It was with some trepidation, then, that I started this book. I found, however, that once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. David Nevin took an obscure time in the history of America, and wrapped a fascinating story around it. Did you know that James Madison was a short man with a low self-esteem? or that andrew Jackson was hot-tempered but brilliant military tactician? Read about the burning of the White House, and how America turned the tide of the war by winning two major battles, one on Lake Champlain, and the other in New Orleans. This is one of my all time favorite books.It is written in a style that entertains and educates the reader. I learned more about the War of 1812 than I did in school. It should be manditory reading for all students taking American History. I do not usually read a book more than once, but I know this book will be read and reread.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin P. Schultz on October 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I rank this book ALMOST as good as The Killer Angels, and right up there with Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure. Nevin did an excellent job of making a page-turner novel based on a segment of American history that I think most Americans don't know much about. I've lent the book out to friends who have also loved it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At times absorbing, at times uneven. Nearly always well researched and smacking of authenticity.
This novel has a lot of ground to cover. The author divides time, nearly evenly, between private lives, diplomacy, and combat for all the key players of the war. He also divides the time evenly between conflicts in the North and in the South. Nevin treads between history documentary and steamy mini-series innuendo and nearly pulls it off entirely. These two areas are difficult to bring together. Alternately, I would long to return to the combat theater while the author waxes on the domestic trials of Rachael Donnelson Jackson, or wish to read more about Sally McQuirks early femminist character while the author was steeped in documenting Jackson's sweep of the south. Oh well.
None the less the novel was engrossing and a pleasure. Its biggest downfall was that the Treaty of Ghent was completely ignored! There was quite a group of personalities involved in that roe. They would would have fit in well with Nevin's saga. Perhaps his next historical novel can examine the picadillios that occurred in that lowlands city.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KMM on August 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm just going to keep this short and sweet: 1812 is a fabulous book! I read it over a year ago and I still rave about it to anyone who will listen!! My brother and I bought it as part of a gift for our father but he never got it because neither of us could put it down. We read it so many times the jacket is ruined. Whether you're a history buff, just someone who likes to read, or someone who wants to be reminded why they should be proud to be an American, you won't regret picking up this book. It is so down to earth, so real, and so vibrant you can't help but be moved by arguably the most important yet little remembered war in America's history, and the people who believed in America enough to win it against all odds. Beautiful book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Carroll VINE VOICE on September 6, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The War of 1812 is rarely accorded the importance it deserves as a seminal event in America's history. It brought the U.S. to the forefront of world events and showed the willingness of Americans to defend their rights on the world stage. Nevin applies his knowledge of the event and its participants to the task of explaining the war's importance with mixed results. James Madison and his wife Dolly come off well as Nevein shows "Little Jimmy's" rising to the occasion bolstered by Dolly's fierce and loving determination. Winfield Scott comes to the forefront as a soldier who changes the way the U.S. looks at tactics, but serves, oddly, as a love interest for an imaginary character. Andrew Jackson gets a bit too much time as the raging lunatic who is calmed by his wife's gentle influence. I don't find fault so much with the presentation of Jackson as it took away from Madison and Dolly, who I found to be the more intriguing pair.

That being said, it is the battle scenes that really make this book one of interest. New Orleans has been discussed a multitude of times but Nevin makes it fresh and the battles on the Niagra frontier were vividly presented. Here Niven's obviously strong research truly comes to light. 1812 may be a novel but it is one of excellent insight, occasionally plagued by melodrama, but worth the time of any fan of this genre.
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