Or to put it another way: You'll might stop reading this when you discover that the post is about today (Monday, June 18) being the bicentennial of the start of the War of 1812.
The war of what?
A few people might recall the war as the occasion for the composition of the National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Or of the Battle of New Orleans, in which a punk little country--the United States of America--kicked the crap out of Great Britain, then the world's most powerful nation. Or that the British marched into Washington and burned down the White House, the Capitol and other government buildings.
But when it comes to important wars, it's one of the most important, which I'll explain why in my Tuesday op-ed column in the Chicago Tribune. Having studied the war for a half-dozen years in preparation for my forthcoming historical novel, Madness: The War of 1812, I have to confess some aggravation that Americans have so little understanding of their history that the War of 1812 is such an obscurity. If America had lost the war, there would not have been United States of America as surely as if America had lost the War of Independence. No one to pull out the chestnuts of the world's democracies from two world wars.
So, to get you started on understanding the wars, I am providing a link to a list of the wave of new and re-issued books published for the bicentennial period, from 1812 through 1814. The list (here) was compiled by Bowkers.
If I've gotten this far into the post, I've just updated my Facebook page with links to newspapers stories from the U.S. and Canada giving more background on the war.