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.

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"Daughan's volume tells tales about heroes, like Oliver Hazard Perry and Thomas Macdonough, in a fscinating fashion.The book is filled with information, supported by charts, diagrams, and illustrations, all of which help to place this war and its impact upon the nation into context. 1812 is filled with extensive detail but remains very readable. Consequently, it is a book that will please the scholar, student, and novice.

"Despite its subtitle, The Navy's War, this volume does far more than explain ship actions on the Great Lakes or on the high sea, it also provides a comprehensive survey of land engagements, political machinations, and European events as they are influenced by or influence naval battles. Daughan's thoroughness enables the reader to understand the U.S. Navy's role in such victories as the battles of Plattsburgh and New Orleans, which enabled the United States to secure an honorable peace.

"....................More importatly, this book's conclusion wisely tells how the War of 1812 taught the young nation several lessons that guided its future. Daughan documents how American's democratic government could handle wartime crisis without discarding its Constitution. Furthermore, he notes that the war gave the nation a greater sense of unity, reinforced the need for a stronger military to ensure national defense, and placed america on an equal diplomatic footing with European nations.

John V. Quarstein, is the historian for the city of Newport News. He is the author of CSS Virginai: Sink before Surrender (2012).................Spring 2012

American Heritage

"George C. Daughan's book is more comprehensive than the title might suggest. The author of "If By Sea:The Forging of the American Navy - From the Revolution to the War of 1812" deftly situates the naval story within the broader contours of the war, exploring diplomancy, the dustup over impressment, the Napoleonic wars, and the ill-fated Canadian campaigns. Much of the book's originality lies in its conclusion. Historians have long recognized the overmatched Navy's exploits against the British colossus - a David-verus-Goliath contest- but they have tended to denigrate its strategic importance. Daughan argues that the naval captains' bravery helped bring about a decisive change in Eurpoean attitudes toward the Untied States."

Phil Kopper and S. Scott Rohrer.........................American Heritage, Spring 2012

Maine Sunday Telegram

"Readers who have experienced George C. Daughan's prvious volume, "If By Sea: The Forging of the American Navy from the American Revolution to the War of 1812" (Basic Books, 2008), will not be surprised by the sweep, substance and attention to detail in his new book, "1812: The Navy's War."

"In the end, I stand in awe of my fellow Portlander's breaith and depth of knowledge and his abilitiy to organize a coherent and most readable volume. Here is a basic book for understand America's 'Second War of Independence' after 200 years."

William David Barry is a local historian who has authored or co-authored five books, including "Deering: a Social and Architectural History."............................Sunday, June 12, 2012

IPPY Gold Medal

"1812:The Navy's War" has won the 2012 gold medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in the U.S. history catagory. The medal will be awarded in New York on June 4, 2012.

Notable Naval Books of 2011

Proceedings Magazine, U.S. Naval Institute, has chosen "1812: The Navy's War" as one of the top 20 Notable Naval Books of 2011.

Proceedings Magazine

"..........1812: The Navy's War is more than its title implies. It combines a lively narrative of naval actions with a keen understanding of national strategy and international relations in the conduct of war. For those with limited reading time during this war's bicentennial, Daughan's account is an excellent overview with enough detail to satisfy most."

David Curtis Skaggs. Dr Skaggs is professor emeritus of history at Bowling Green State University, Ohio

Military Officer Magazine

"Daughan brings military history alive, describing how a few stout warships and bold captains were the the primary offense and defense for a totally unprepared U.S. facing a powerful Great Britian that wanted to destroy its only maritime rival and reestablish dominance in North America.

                                                                                   William D Bushnell

The George Pendleton Prize

"1812:The Navy's War" has won the George Pendleton Prize for an outstanding book. The prize will be awarded at the annual SHFG awards luncheon given by The Society for History in the Federal Government on March 21, 2012.

The Audies

"1812: The Navy's War" has been selected as a finalist by the Audio Publishers Association for their Audie Awards competion in the history catagory. These awards are the "Oscars" of audio books. Winners in each catagory will be announced at the Audies Gala in New York City in June. The Audio Publishers Association is a not-for-profit trade organization for the audio book industry. I am honored that "1812" has been nominated for this prestigeous award. "1812" was produced in audio by Audible, Inc. and is available at

San Antonio Express News

"America's soverneignty, only a couple of decades old, was at stake when President James Madison reluctantly declared war on England due to mandatory trade restrictions, impressments of America's merchant sailors into the Roayl Navy, and as payback for hostillities shown toward America's Navy on the high seas.

"Award-winning naval historian George C. Daughan ushers readers into this vortex of global unrest in a fascinating look into America's first major military conflict after its battle for independence in his new work, "1812:The Navy's War."

"The book is a masterfull, spellbinding account of maritime battles that pitted a fledgling republic's 20-ship Navy against an experienced British fleet of more than 1,000 men-of-war (warships). Victories were cruelly measured in lives lost to disease and combat, as well as ships captured or chaotically destroyed.

"Daughan, who holds a Ph.d in American history and government from Harvard University, expertly walks his readers through the build-up for war and its ensuing battles, keeping the action flowing with vivid descriptions of events that capture the imagination.

"While the book focuses on naval battles, Daughan inserts several captivating accounts of land skirmishes, including England's march to Washington that caught America's military seemingly unprepared, and the firefight that inspired the composition of our national anthem.

"Daughan's description of the British invading and torching the capital, with Dolley Madison leaving the presidential mansion in a wagon with plates and portable articles, including George Washington's portrait, deftly illustrates how close America was to losing evrything tanglible its Founding Fathers held dear.

"Military enthusiasts will savor Daughan's narrative on the critical clashes on the Great Lakes, the Navy's key role in winning the crucial battle of New Orleans, and his account on the battle of Baltimore, where Navy legends delayed the British fleet's assault with attacks on the Potomac after the battle of Washington.

""1812:the Navy's War" is a mesmerizing tale of an infant nation, greatly outnumbered militarily but dedicated to the ideals of freedom, that was able to put aside political differences and competing goaals in order to take on the Brisish Empire and establish itself as a Republic capable of defending its interests on land and sea."

.......... by Vincent Bosquez for the San Antonio Express. Vincent Bosquez is a retired U.S. Marine Corps captain and coordinator of Veterans Affairs at Palo Alto College. He can be reached at

Kennebec Journal

"In 1812, the fledgling democracy of the new United States was just 29 years old. Militarily weak and fractured by regional political bickering, the United States was totally unprepared to confront a resurgent British empire, but President James Madison declared war on Great Britain anyway.

"1812:The Navy's War is Portland naval historian George Daughan's excellent naval history of America's most misunderstood war; it was the United States' 'second war of independence.' Daughan is the award-winning author of IF BY SEA (Basic Books, 2008), a comprehensive history of America's navy from the American Revolution to 1812.

"Here {in 1812} Daughan uses his considerable research and writing skills to present a vivid and exciting history of how a few stout warships, bold captains and brave crews were the nation's primary offense and defense facing the world's largest navy, and a powerful and arrogant Great Britain that wanted to destroy its only maritime rival and reestablish British dominance in North America.

"Daughan deftly describes the complex political, diplomatic and economic causes of the war, as well as Britain's unified strategic goals and the United States' surprisingly confused and naive lack of cogent plans, strategic thought and needed resources.

"Best, however, are Daughan's dramatic explanations of how the tiny American navy's victories at sea offset the army's dismal performance on land in a war that raged from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico across the Atlantic and into the Pacific Ocean.

" He tells of famous single-ship battles, both defeats and victories, how commerce-raiding privateers affected the war's outcome, how American naval triumps on Lake Erie and Lake Champlain thwarted a British invasion from Canada, and how American naval audacity and sacrifice on the Mississippi River was critical to Andrew Jackson's crushing defeat of the British army in the bloody battle at New Orleans."

(Bill) Bushnell on Books, column in the Kennebec Journal, February 2, 2012.

The Wall Street Journal

"The book is much more than the title suggests. Mr Daughan shows how the war at sea fitted into the American war effort and how the Navy - and the country - came out of the war better for the experience. The virtues of the war for America, Mr. Daughan suggests, were actually more civic than strategic. Madison assiduously conducted the war within the confines of the Constitution, guided by the strict republican principles that he championed. He immeasurably strengthened American democracy by avoiding any increase in presidential power and resisting the temptation to crush his opponents through the use of sedition laws. The president's policy of depending on militia forces raised locally would lead, in the postwar period, to a relaxation of property qualifications for voters, this expanding the electorate.

"Although the U.S. Navy could not match the British, it emerged from the war having won widespread respect for what it did achieve. Mr Daughan argues that America's naval victories led to a changed British attitude toward the United States after 1815. In the wake of the war, he writes, 'the new unity and strength of the republic freed her for a century from European entanglements and allowed her people to prosper in spite of the vicissitudes that would continue to challenge her.'

"Mr. Daughan suggests that the War of 1812 was indeed a second war of independence, completeing what had been started in 1775, strengthening the nation's democratic principles, and establishing a new and positive relationship in which Britain recognized America's place in the world. Perhaps we can conclude that it really was a war in which all sides gained something significant."

Mr. Hattendorf is the Ernest J. King Professor of maritime history at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. ................................The Wall Street Journal "Books", January 28-29, 2012.

Sea Classics

"This is the thrilling story of America's Naval war from the coast of far-off Brazil to the interior waterways of the Great Lakes, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.

"It is also the story of great ship-on-ship combats led by the young officers of that day who were destined to achieve fame and glory on both sides of the conflict.

"A tiny team of battle-tested American commanders, seamen, and privateers took on the greatest Naval power of the day, and won time and again epic sea battles that still siir the imgaination.

"This is a book not to be missed!"

Sea Classic Magazine. Review by Blaine Taylor. February 2012.

Roanoke Times

"This {1812: The Navy's War} and possible future volumes should become a standard text for the serious history student."

Richard Raymond III for the Roanoke Times, Sunday Jan 8, 2012.