Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.95 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Perilous Fight: America's Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815 Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 18, 2011
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
The deservedly overshadowed War of 1812 was redeemed by heroics at sea, according to this rousing military history. Journalist and military historian Budiansky (The Bloody Shirt) follows the tiny United States Navy, led by a handful of superfrigates, including the U.S.S. Constitution, in its oceanic struggle against the vastly larger, stronger, and haughtier British fleet, whose bullying practice of seizing American merchant ships and sailors provoked the war. Budiansky makes it a classic David and Goliath story, as the plucky Yanks, with better ships, sailing, and gunnery, win a string of resounding victories that wipe the smirks from their adversaries' faces. The author's colorful narrative is full of gory sea battles, chivalrous flourishes, mutinous tars, and charismatic performances by Stephen Decatur, David Porter, and other American naval legends; it becomes grayer and grimmer as the British blockade tightens and the Americans turn from pitched battles to prosaic commerce raiding. Budiansky's well-researched and skillfully written account extracts a gripping true-life naval saga from an otherwise inglorious conflict. 8 pages of color and 8 pages of b&w photos; 11 photos in text; 8 maps. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Bedeviled on land, U.S. forces were more effective at sea in the War of 1812. Continuing a venerable tradition of historians (Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Adams, Alfred Mahan) drawn to this topic, Budiansky narrates events and ventures explanations for successes of the U.S. Navy against Britain’s Royal Navy. The prerequisite was the pre-existence of an American navy, whose establishment Ian Toll recounted in Six Frigates (2006). Those frigates scored initial victories in warship-on-warship combat (the Constitution’s sinking of the Guerriere) that exhilarated Americans and made U.S. captains (e.g., Stephen Decatur) famous. But naval war in the chivalric style did not strike the historically unsung William Jones as a sensible strategy. Secretary of the navy during the war, Jones is the most important character in Budiansky’s account. Jones thought that attacking Britain’s merchant marine would hamper her superior fleet far more than would destruction of her warships, and so it turned out, as Budiansky’s analysis of the forces tied to convoy and blockade duties verifies. Conversant in nautical technicalities of the age of sail, Budiansky will absorb the avid naval history audience. --Gilbert Taylor
Top customer reviews
America had a small navy, thanks to John Adams (see Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy)at the start of the war. And no thanks to Thomas Jefferson, who believed that a navy was not necessary and preferred to do this thing "on the cheap" with gunboats, which were far less expensive and ineffective against British frigates and ships of the line.
We are introduced to all the significant American commanders. It is a minor miracle that they did not all kill themselves in duels because the slightest insult or perceived slight could bring out weapons and seconds.
For many, the most important action of this time was the defeat of the English ship Gueriere by the U.S. Constitution. American frigates were bigger and had more guns than British frigates, and the British were no match for them. Considering that this was only a few years after Nelson and Trafalgar in 1805, this action shocked the world. (There is an excellent sketch summary of the men-of-war from both sides on page 82, which provides you an excellent visual, which I think is worth the price of the book.)
American Secretary of the Navy William Jones was wise enough to concentrate naval forces against British commerce and distributed it all over the globe. He knew that an assemblage of American ships against the might of the British would be futile and he went the other way.
There are also good accounts of the individuals and the common sailors on the ships of both sides. While Britain had the greatest navy of the time, the expense in men and materials to operate this Goliath was not only costly but frustrating for the British because American ships could not be bottled up in spite of a heavy blockade attempt on the coast.
There is also excellent information on the logistics of the operation of a man-of-war. Fascinating.
This is a page turner. You can only read so many books in a life. Don't pass this one up.