Read ChicagoNow's least-read post

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.

Of course, I can't pass up the opportunity to refer to you my book's website to read some excerpts. Or to my War of 1812 Facebook Page.

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.






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  • If you recast the War of 1812 as a Bears vs Green Bay season, then your page would soar in hits. Few will know that the 1812 Season between the two teams amounted to a big zero. You can then rewrite your novel, and instead of "generals" you can have "coaches" Coach Ditka could even make an appearance via time machine.

    Just a suggestion.

  • I'll try your Bears vs Green Bay thing. I was planning a historical novel about the Mexican-American War, but you've talked me out of it. Instead, I'll do the Cubs vs. White Sox face-off in 1836, the last time the Cubs won the World Series.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:


    Should be a mega seller.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Just another suggestion, if I may... an exploding scoreboard that keeps track of kills. There is a place for it in any good battlefield. Again, the time machine, as it is a novel: this time with Bill Veeck.

    Don't worry, I will not claim royalties -- this is my full release.

  • And the Battle of New Orleans was fought when the war was over.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Indeed. Too bad the combatants didn't know. The scoreboard (see above) for the New Orleans battle was:

    (Not so) Great Britain: 251 killed; 1,259 wounded; 484 missing
    USA: 11 killed; 23 wounded.

    It didn't affect the outcome of the war, but sure made Britain and the rest of Europe take notice.

  • Early one in the war, Chicago was the site of the massacre now ballyhooed by the moist of brain as a battle -August 15, 1812 near Fort Dearborn. now the Battle of Fort Dearborn. . . . like celebrating the Cubs heroic annual visits to the Cellar.

  • "ballyhooed by the moist of brain as a battle"?

    Here is Dennis Byrne on the topic: "The War of 1812 is so obscure that many Chicagoans wiill be surprised to learn that the Fort Dearborn Massacre---a historic and bloody clash---actually was one of the earliest battles of the war."


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