1812: The Navy's War

  • by George C. Daughan
  • Narrated by Marc Vietor
  • 18 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At the outbreak of the War of 1812, America's prospects looked dismal. It was clear that the primary battlefield would be the open ocean, but America's war fleet, only 20 ships strong, faced a practiced British navy of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, the American navy managed to take the fight to the British and turn the tide of the war: on the Great Lakes, in the Atlantic, and even in the eastern Pacific.
In 1812: The Navy's War, prize-winning historian George C. Daughan tells the thrilling story of how a handful of heroic captains and their stalwart crews overcame spectacular odds to lead the country to victory against the world's greatest imperial power. A stunning contribution to military and national history, 1812: The Navy's War is the first complete account in more than a century of how the U.S. Navy rescued the fledgling nation and secured America's future.

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What the Critics Say

"The War of 1812 was America's first great naval war, and George Daughan tells the story, from the coast of Brazil to the Great Lakes, from election campaigns to grand strategy to ship-to-ship combat. Sweeping, exciting and detailed." (Richard Brookhiser)
"A solidly researched, well-crafted account of U.S. sea power in the War of 1812… Daughan’s achievement is contextualizing the effect of [the U.S. Navy’s] victories…. What kept the peace, Daughan argues provocatively, was America’s post-war commitment to 'a strong navy, an adequate professional army, and the financial reforms necessary to support them' - in other words, an effective deterrent." (Publishers Weekly)
"Vietor’s timing and pacing are perfectly aligned with the narrative style of the text." (Audiofile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Arghhhh!!! Not meant for audio.

This is a fabulously written book with both macro and micro details that present a great overall account of the war of 1812. However the minutia is also problematic for the audio account as I found it difficult to follow. Too many different people, too similar of names creates confusion and cause the listener to forget who is attacking who on the high seas. There is the USS President but also the US President and while the author probably presents a good WRITTEN account, a couple of sentences got me wondering was he talking about the ship or Madison/Jefferson/Adams/Washington (all are in the historical context of the book).

Additionally, referencing a map would be very useful. While I consider myself as having above average knowledge of geography, the author makes me feel like an idiot when citing locations of harbors, bays, rivers, etc. (Full disclosure, that might have more to do with me being from Utah and our utter lack of any seaworthy body of water (no the GSL is not a seaworthy body of water)).

My recommendation, and what I'm going to do; buy the physical written book with the aforementioned maps and battle diagrams (I'm assuming and hoping those are in the book). Additionally, with all the different ships and personalities, the ability to quickly re-read a passage or scan for other facts will be a nice benefit.

Please don't dismiss my review of this book as ignorant fool who isn't studious enough to listen to a work of quality non-fiction. I've listened to several history books e.g., Intelligence in War (Keegan), Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Weatherford), I, Claudius (Graves) (I know this is more historical fiction), Abraham (Feiler). All of these were easy audio listens while being full of complicated details without confusing the listener.
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- Jonathan Love "My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One."

Fantastic, if complicated, account of the war

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely, but it is a complicated book with many names and dates with some intense nautical terms, so I would be careful who I recommended it to. It, I think, would be enjoyable to the regular history lover, but would be loved by someone who loves naval history like I do.


What does Marc Vietor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His tone and ability to do accurate (well, to me at least) accents for each person in the book was enjoyable and added to the listening experience.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found myself very excited when it described the harrowing naval battles and the heroism, and loss they contained.


Any additional comments?

I'm actually thinking about listening to this one again. That's how much I enjoyed it.

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- K. Winters

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-04-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios