Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War
America's First Couple and the Second War of Independence
By Hugh Howard
(Bloomsbury Press, Hardcover, 9781608190713, 384pp.)
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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August 28, 1814. Dressed in black, James Madison mourns the nation's loss. Smoke rises from the ruin of the Capitol before him; a mile away stands the blackened shell of the White House. The British have laid waste to Washington City, and as Mr. Madison gazes at the terrible vista, he ponders the future-his country's defeat or victory-in a war he began over the unanimous objections of his political adversaries. As we approach its bicentennial, the War of 1812 remains the least understood of America's wars. To some it was a conflict that resolved nothing, but to others, it was our second war of independence, settling once and for all that America would never again submit to Britain. At its center was James Madison-our most meditative of presidents, yet the first one to declare war. And at his side was the extraordinary Dolley, who defined the role of first lady for all to follow, and who would prove perhaps her husband's most indispensable ally.
In this powerful new work, drawing on countless primary sources, acclaimed historian Hugh Howard presents a gripping account of the conflict as James and Dolley Madison experienced it. Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War rediscovers a conflict fought on land and sea-from the shores of the Potomac to the Great Lakes-that proved to be a critical turning point in American history.
Advance praise for Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War :
"Hugh Howard has turned the least known and understood war in American history into a Technicolor, wide-screen epic of thrilling naval battles, brutal backwoods skirmishes, villainous intrigue, and stirring heroism. Thanks to Howard's prodigious research, fine eye for the telling detail, and vivid prose, the War of 1812 seems as contemporary and compelling as yesterday's battlefield dispatches from the Middle East."-Thurston Clarke, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Campaign
Hugh Howard's numerous books include The Painter's Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art; Dr. Kimball and Mr. Jefferson; the definitive Thomas Jefferson: Architect; his memoir House-Dreams; and the classic Houses of the Founding Fathers. He resides in upstate New York.
"An engrossing narrative history of a conflict that few today know much about."—BookPage.com“Interesting, informative”—Booklist “Howard’s book makes no effort to be a comprehensive account of the war. Instead, he tends to select particular moments for detailed and intimate – you-are-there sorts – of descriptions of scenes or events.”—Gordon Wood, The New York Review of Books “Hugh Howard has turned the least known and understood war in American history into a Technicolor, wide-screen epic of thrilling naval battles, brutal backwoods skirmishes, villainous intrigues, and stirring heroism. Mr. and Mrs. Madison’s War moves smoothly between the White House, New Orleans, and the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake, and the waters off New England. Thanks to Howard’s prodigious research, fine eye for the telling detail, and vivid prose, the War of 1812 seems as contemporary and compelling as yesterday’s battlefield dispatches from the Middle East.”—Thurston Clarke, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days that Inspired America "Hugh Howard provides us with vividly written accounts of some of the more dramatic highlights of the War of 1812. Readers with particular interests in the Chesapeake Bay campaigns of 1814 will find much to enjoy here."—Professor J.C.A. Stagg, editor of The Papers of James Madison "Hugh Howard tackles the history of a war that is incomprehensible in the modern sense of warfare and renders it understandable, giving a fascinating and engaging account of the people and events involved in America’s first war. Mr. and Mrs. Madison’s War will add enormously to public understanding of the War of 1812."—Michael Quinn, President, James Madison’s Montpelier
“An entertaining look at the forgotten war, the burning of Washington, and the fourth president's none-too-effective efforts to command the military.”—Military History Quarterly
“Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War has a wonderful visual quality that allowed me to feel I was standing on the deck the HMS Confiance as Captain Downie was struck by a canon barrel and mingling with members of congress at one of Dolley Madison's Wednesday gatherings.”—Patricia O’Sullivan, Historical Novel Society
“Hugh Howard's engaging and energetic Mr. and Mrs. Madison's War … is a worthy look at a rite of passage making the nascent United States into a nation that, although far from a world power, would be here to stay.”—Casey Common, Minneapolis Star-Tribune