Most of us are taught to believe that the War of 1812 was an American fiasco. Walter Lord's The Dawn's Early Light is an exceptionally well written work which depicts just how America sent the Brits packing for a second time and along the way earned not only international respect but also forged a sense of true national identity.
This is quite a fine work. Starting with the British burning of Washington, DC, Lord follows through to the defeat of the same army at Baltimore and the subsequent annihilation of the Duke of Wellington's finest troops, those that defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, at the Battle of New Orleans. While the battle sequences are extremely well done, the behind the scene negotiations are covered equally well.
This book delivers what most historians often forget. By defeating Great Britain twice, a very young nation, one whose ideas of self government were so uncertain that some of its own citizens though it would not work, developed a sense of self, one that was to set the tone for the rest of the world to follow.
This is a remarkably well written and structured work, sure to please all but the British!