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Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War: America's First Couple and the War of 1812 Hardcover – 12 Apr 2012

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press (12 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608190714
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608190713
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.1 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,836,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Intricate and engaging...Howard's story is...not only about the birth of American painting, but-through the creation of its first, most long-lasting, and most transcendent human icon-about the invention of America itself (American Scholar on THE PAINTER'S CHAIR)

Hugh Howard's highly original work offers a completely new perspective on the Father of our Country, examining his life through the eyes of six of the 28 artists for whom he sat, showing how his increasing fame accelerated the development of American painting, and offering insight into how history and myth are made by images (Dallas Morning News on THE PAINTER'S CHAIR)

What a smart, elegantly conceived book this is! Hugh Howard and photographer Roger Strauss III walk us through the homes of our Founding Fathers, transporting us back in time. A real treasure! (Douglas Brinkley on HOUSES OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS)

Book Description

A new narrative history of America's forgotten war, from the author of The Painter's Chair

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It being the bicentenary of this futile and avoidable little war, we might have hoped that the Americans and Canadians would have taken the opportunity to write books that disentangled the facts of the War of 1812 from the myths in which they have both shrouded them for far too long. It could still happen but Hugh Howard has done nothing to move this project along.

On the opening page he tells us that he's "a narrative historian". He likes to tell a good story. And so he does. It's a shame about the history. The book has all the trappings of a serious work of history. There is an index at the back together with footnotes and a bibliography. There's even a timeline. But never judge a book by its back pages. Howard goes on to disappoint.

Were it not for the joint efforts of Johnny Horton and Lonnie Donegan back in the late 1950s, this unworthy little war would have been justly forgotten in both America and Britain. Here are the principal facts which you'll have trouble extracting from Howard's book:

* President Madison declares war on Britain in 1812 while Britain is preoccupied with fighting Napoleon.
* American war aims are:
- to stop the Royal Navy impressing British sailors (including deserters) serving on American ships. It's a matter of "national honour".
- to conquer British North America, now known as Canada, as part of what would later become known as America's manifest destiny to own all of the continent.
- sundry stuff including Britain's support of Indians in their struggle to retain ownership of their traditional lands.
* British war aims are to end this irritating distraction to the serious business of beating Napoleon without making any concessions.
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