The Civil War Of 1812 : American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies
In this deeply researched and clearly written book, the Pulitzer Prizendash;winning historian Alan Taylor tells the riveting story of a war that redefined North America. During the early nineteenth century, Britons and Americans renewed their struggle over the legacy of the American Revolution. Soldiers, immigrants, settlers, and Indians fought in a northern borderland to determine the fate of a continent. Would revolutionary republicanism sweep the British from Canada? Or would the British Empire contain, divide, and ruin the shaky American republic? In a world of double identities, slippery allegiances, and porous boundaries, the leaders of the republic and of the empire struggled to control their own diverse peoples. The border divided Americans-former Loyalists and Patriots-who fought on both sides in the new war, as did native peoples defending their homelands. Serving in both armies, Irish refugees battled one another, reaping charges of rebellion and treason. And dissident Americans flirted with secession while aiding the British as smugglers and spies. In this vivid narrative of an often brutal (and sometimes comic) war, Alan Taylor reveals the tangled origins of Canada and the United States.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor (William Cooper's Town) presents the War of 1812 not as the conventionally understood "second war for independence," but as a civil war waged in the context of a U.S.-Canadian boundary barely separating "kindred peoples, recently and incompletely divided by the revolution." , Upper Canada (Ontario) was the scene of bitter conflict between two sets of immigrants: Loyalist refugees from the Revolutionary War and more recent American arrivals hoping to bring the region into the U.S. In New England, antiwar sentiment was strong enough to bring the region close to secession. Irish immigrants, many of them republican in sympathy, found Canada, with its developing monarchical ethos, less than welcoming. The Indians of the Northwest found themselves sandwiched between two alien and expansionist cultures unconcerned for Native Americans' welfare. The result was a drawn-out, indecisive war, but in the long run the four-way conflict that Taylor so convincingly describes was decisive in transforming a permeable frontier into a boundary separating "the king's subject and the republic's citizen." 80 illus.; 2 maps. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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October 10, 2010
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