Winner of The 2012 George Pendleton Prize

Winner of The 2012 Gold Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in U.S. History (IPPY)

Winner of the 2012 Military Order of Saint Louis Award

Chosen for the 2012 Navy Reading List of Essential Reading

Selected as one of the top 20 Notable Naval Books of 2011

A finalist for an Audie in History from the Audio Book Industry


"Every American should read George C. Daughan's riveting 1812: The Navy's War. Daughan masterfully breaks down complicated naval battles to tell how the U.S. thwarted the British armada on the Great Lakes and the high seas. Highly recommended!"...............Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History, Rice University.


"At last, a history of the War of 1812 that Americans can read without wincing. By focusing on our small but incredibly courageous Navy, George Daughan has told a story of victories against awful odds that makes for a memorable book.".......Thomas Fleming, author of Liberty!: The American Revolution.


"In this vitally important and extraordinarily well researched work, award-winning historian George Daughan demonstrates the often overlooked impact of the 20 ship U.S. Navy's performance against the 1,000 ship British Navy in the War of 1812. Daughan makes a compelling case that the Navy's performance in the war forced Europe to take the U.S. more seriously, initiated a fundamental change in the British-American relationship, and enabled us to maintain a robust Navy even in peacetime." .................Lawrence Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progresss and former Assistant Secretary of Defense.


"The War of 1812 was a difficult test for the Untied States, still wobbly on the world stage nearly two decades after formal independence. That Americans received a passing grade was due in no small part to the exceptional performance of the U.S. Navy, which humiliated the legendary British Navy time and time again. With verve and deep research, George Daughan has brought those gripping naval battles back to life. For military historians and general historian alike, 1812: The Navy's War restores an important missing chapter to our national narrrative."........Edward L. Widmer, author of Ark of the Liberties: America and the World.


"1812: The Navy's War is a sparkling effort. It tells more than the naval history of the war, for there is much in it about the politics and diplomacy of the war years. The stories of ship-to-ship battles and of the officers and men who sailed and fought form the wonderful heart of the book. These accounts are told in a handsome prose that conveys the strategy, high feeling, and courage of both British and Americans. In every way this is a marvelous book.".............Robert Middlekauff, author of The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789.


"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, author of James Madison.


Reviews and other information are added below as they are received. Scroll down to see them all. Some of these reviews are lengthy and have been condensed here. For full reviews visit the publication websites.

Kirkus Review

"A naval expert's readable take on the U.S. Navy's surprising performance in the war that finally reconciled the British to America's independence.

"Maritime disputes over impressments and free trade forced a reluctant Madison to ask Congress to declare war in 1812 against Great Britain. Presumptions on both sides - that the U.S. could easily invade and conquer Canada and that the Royal Navy would vanquish America's woefullly inadequate navy - proved erroneous. The antagonists signed a treaty three years later, quietly dropping the disagreements over sailors' rights and sea-going commerce. Daughan (If By Sea: The Forging of the American Navy - From the Revolution to the War of 1812, 2008) follows up his award-winning debut about the U.S. Navy's birth with this story of its maturation. If the U.S. Navy, along with considerable assistance from privateers, didn't win the War of 1812, it probably kept the nation from losing. The Great Lakes, coastal and blue-water exploits of outstanding officers like Isaac Hull, David Porter, Stephen Decatur and Oliver Hazard Perry earned new respect for America's fleet; victories by the Essex, the Hornet and the Constitution (dubbed "Old Ironsides" after its triumph over the Guerriere) set off national celebrations. Daughan supplies just enough of the big picture - the dismal struggles of both armies, Napoleon's off-stage machinations that determined so much of the war's progress, the outcome of domestic political squabbles upon which the navy's survival depended - to place the navy's role in context, but he focuses on the personalitites, ships and battles that prevented the British from suffocating the infant nation's maritime ambitions. With each success, the navy demonstrated its value, shaming the politicians reluctant to fund it. After the war, writes the author, the navy became an integral part of the nation's new defense strategy.

"A smart salute to a defining moment in the history of the U.S. Navy."

Kirkus Reviews, August 16, 2011

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Daughan follows his award-winning If By Sea, about the American navy in the Revolutionary War, with a solidly researched, well-crafted account of U.S. sea power in the War of 1812. ..........The navy's performance convinced critics that a strong navy was indispensable to its protection and did not threaten the Constituion. Second, the performances of individual warships generated increasing British respect, both in the Royal Navy and in the administration, for American abilities at sea. Over the previous century, British warships had come to assume superiority in single-ship actions. Such fights as Constituiton versus Guerrier impelled rethinking the subject. Finally, the successes of American privateers against British shipping drove costs higher than the business community was willing to accept without protest. The treaty ending the war provided numerous unresolved grounds for renewed conflict. What kept the peace, Daughan argues provocatively, was America's postwar commitment to 'a strong navy, an adequate professional army, and the finacial reform necesssary to support them'--in other words, an effective deterrent."...............................Publisher's Weekly August 1, 2011