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Lord’s stunning account of the War of 1812, when a young nation won its independence once and for allAt the dawn of the nineteenth century, the great powers of Western Europe treated the United States like a disobedient child. Great Britain blocked American trade, seized its vessels, and impressed its sailors to serve in the Royal Navy. America’s complaints were ignored, and the humiliation continued until James Madison, the country’s fourth president, declared a second war on Great Britain. British forces descended on the United States, shattering its armies and burning its capital, but America rallied, and survived the conflict with its sovereignty intact. This is the story of the turning points of that strange war, which inspired the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and led to the Era of Good Feeling that all but erased partisan politics in America for almost a decade. It was in 1812 that America found its identity, and first assumed its place on the world stage.

ABOUT Walter Lord

  • BIOGRAPHY

    Walter Lord (1917–2002) was an acclaimed and bestselling author of literary nonfiction best known for his gripping and meticulously researched accounts of watershed historical events. Born in Baltimore, Lord went to work for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. After the war’s end, Lord joined a New York advertising firm, and began writing nonfiction in his spare time. His first book was The Fremantle Diary (1954), a volume of Civil War diaries that became a surprising success. But it was Lord’s next book, A Night to Remember (1955), that made him famous. The bestseller caused a new flurry of interest in the Titanic and inspired the 1958 film of the same name. Lord went on to use the book’s interview-heavy format as a template for most of his following works, which included detailed reconstructions of the Pearl Harbor attack in Day of Infamy (1957), the battle of Midway in Incredible Victory (1967), and the integration of the University of Mississippi in The Past That Would Not Die (1965). In all, he published a dozen books.

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