`The Rockets' Red Glare gives a well done historical portrait of the War of 1812. Its' history cannot be faulted and what this book contains is a fine rendering of the causes of the war, the war itself and its' legacies.
On the fly leaf, it claims that the book will show what it was like to live through the war, but there is little of that personalization. What is missing from it, that could have moved it forward into a stronger volume are the anecdotes and interesting personal stories of history that make even confirmed non-history lovers sit up and take notice.
The military and political aspects of the war are well covered. There are many illustrations, mostly period engravings and paintings of the people involved. There are numerous remarkable maps, including how long it took for news to spread of the war, where battles occurred, charts and flyers are presented. The maritime practices that inflamed American opinion are well detailed. The battles with Canada and the Native Americans are covered as well as the naval battles. The meetings to attempt a lasting peace and the legacies of the war are given.
As the book stands it is a fine historical work (told from an American viewpoint- it could have benefited from a more worldly perspective) that lovers of history and those who wish to learn more of the War of 1812 would benefit from.
Profusely illustrated with portraits, maps, contemporary drawings, newspaper woodcuts and a center section in full color, The Rocket's Red Glare gives us a chronological account of the "late war with Britain", beginning in 1793 and ending with the Battle of New Orleans in early 1815. a final chapter on the legacies of the war places events in their proper context on a global level. It also discusses the common legacies that have come down to us such as the nickname of the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), and the origins of The Star-Spangled Banner and its evolution into the country's national anthem.
Each chapter is subdivided into themes and events occurring within the time frame of the chapter, making for easy reference on any given subject concerning the conflict.
Well narrated and researched, this coffee table-sized book will be a welcome addition to the celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.