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How Britain Won the War of 1812: The Royal Navy's Blockades of the United States, 1812-1815 Hardcover – November 17, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1843836650 ISBN-10: 1843836653

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Boydell Press (November 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843836653
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843836650
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,453,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

(An) excellent book. AUSMARINE (An) important read for anyone interested in the war, or the history of blockade, particularly as Arthur follows the evolution of the strategy through the world wars. THE NYMAS REVIEW A significant achievement in historical scholarship. (...) An outstanding work. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY A well-rounded examination from a fresh perspective. Readers will find themselves rethinking what they know of this period in American history. (...) This scholarly and objective work provides vital research material to those who study this Anglo-American war. PIRATES AND PRIVATEERS Provocative, well-researched, and cogently argued. (This) is an important work about the critical element of British strategy in the war. It is deeply referenced, strongly argued and a necessary corrective to American myths. NAVAL HISTORY This is the most carefully researched book on the effectiveness of the British blockade of the United States during this conflict to have yet been published. Arthur demonstrates how a bold use of sea power, with its advantages of mobility and surprise, can be a very effective weapon. (...) For American scholars, this volume is one to be read, studied, and added to their bookshelves, for it fills a gap in the economic historiography of the War of 1812. REVIEWS IN HISTORY Truly a major achievement of scholarship. (...) Demonstrates that there is more to sea power than just ships and battles. NAVY NEWS

About the Author

Brian Arthur was at the University of Greenwich and was a Caird fellow of the National Maritime Museum, London.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Lynn on October 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
HOW BRITAIN WON THE WAR OF 1812: THE ROYAL NAVY'S BLOCKADES OF THE UNITED STATES, 1812-1815
BRIAN ARTHUR
BOYDELL PRESS, 2011
HARDCOVER, $99.00, 352 PAGES, TABLES, APPENDICES

Among the new books that have emerged coincident with the commemoration of the ongoing bicentennial of the War of 1812, Brian Arthur's HOW BRITAIN WON THE WAR OF 1812: THE ROYAL NAVY BLOCKADES OF THE UNITED STATES, 1812-1815 is one that should win attention, for both its provocative title and its revelatory content. This is the most carefully researched book on the effectiveness of the British blockade of the United States during this conflict to have yet been published. Arthur demonstrates how a bold use of sea power, with its advantages of mobility and surprise, can be a very effective weapon.

One of the time-honored techniques of maritime warfare is the establishment of a blockade off an enemy's coast. It must be fairly clear that the nation which attempts a blockade must have sea control, at least in the immediate area of the conflict. The goals of a naval blockade are to destroy or render useless an enemy's warships and to interfere with and preferably ruin that nation's seaborne commerce. The strategy of sea blockade is two-fold. It assumes the blockading nation has sufficient naval vessels at hand to guard effectively the coast and its sea approaches. It does no good for a nation to declare a blockade it can't or doesn't intend to enforce thoroughly. In application, it is designed to prevent or discouraging an enemy's warships and merchant vessels from departing from or returning to a port. If rigorously applied, this strategy can throttle a nation's navy, trade, and damage its economy, thereby diminishing its resources and undermining the morale of the enemy population.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Nofi on March 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A summary of the review on StrategyPage.Com:

'Despite the rather over-the-top title, as the sub-title explains, this is a serious study of the British blockade of 1812-1815. Arthur's argument is that the blockade, which was actually never total by design until rather late in the war, devastated U.S. revenues, so that the country was virtually bankrupt by the end of hostilities. Opening with a look at the evolution of blockade, notably in the Anglo-Dutch Wars, he follows the concept through the nearly 20 years of the "French Wars", before coming to the events of 1812-1815. Briefly examining the causes of the war, Arthur plunges into a discussion of the history of the blockade, occasional efforts at peacemaking, the interrelationship between the war in America and that against Napoleon, and more. His conclusions, supported by extensive statistics, are that the blockade forced the United States to make peace, leaving Britain the victor. He would better have concluded that, with the loss of control of the Great Lakes and stalemate in the land war, Britain and the United States found it convenient to end the war, each in a position to claim "victory"; that is, the war was a draw, which is the general consensus. Nevertheless, this is an important read for anyone interested in the war, or the history of blockade, particularly since Arthur discusses the continuing evolution of the strategy through the world wars.'

For the full review, see StrategyPage.Com
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By history teacher on July 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm teaching a U.S. history course next fall at the undergraduate level and have been boning up on my War of 1812 history--nothing like a bicentennial.

Essentially, Arthur gives a fuller, more detailed (lots of tables and stats) description of what most historians seem to agree upon: after the first year of the war, U.S. trade was severely restricted by a Royal Naval blockade. Contemporaries expected easy naval supremacy for the British (the early U.S. victories were a surprise to everyone and more a morale booster than anything of strategic importance). I can't imagine anyone disagreeing with the evidence but in terms of the blockade being the cause of British victory, I don't think Arthur makes the case. After all, the U.S. government decided not to adequately prepare for the war (Latimer), raise proper taxes, and end up bankrupt by Fall 1814. They did this all by themselves with the blockade making things worse (Stagg, Hickey, Borneman). The British government signed the Treaty of Ghent knowing full well it had the strategic upper hand in America partly for fear of Russians and others declaring neutrality and reopening trade with the U.S. (Bickham)--thus rendering the blockade useless.

It sum, it is a more detailed case for what is really a pretty obvious point about British naval supremacy and I'm unconvinced the case made proves the assertion of the book's title.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JSF on September 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It is commonly agreed that the War of 1812 ended in a draw, not a British victory. One can not say that the British won without looking at the ground campaign as well. The US was still barely 30 years old, and yet it still got the better of the Royal Navy in Naval Engagements. IE: Lake Erie, Lake Champlain, Baltimore, and numerous ship on ship actions.
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