The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 99
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over-optimism of the agrarian West. His picture of the incom-
petent brass hats that guided our military strategy is depressing
and grim. He shows the accidental emergence of William Henry
Harrison, Jacob Brown, Winfield Scott, and Andrew Jackson, a
quartet that actually might have won the war if left unharassed.
On the sea, he shows how the United States Navy and the pri-
vateers earned everlasting glory.
Beirne is not afraid to tackle some new interpretations of the
events. The burning of Washington, he claims, was merited be-
cause the Americans burned York, the capital of Canada. He
attempts a defense of General Hull, commander of the Detroit
arsenal, a defense not entirely successful, but interesting. He
excellently revaluates the operations on the Hampton Roads, and
puts emphasis on the importance of Baltimore, which was the
heart of the American defense in the War of 1812. His account
of the Treaty of Ghent stresses the idea that, even though unsuc-
cessful then, future conflicts between Great Britain and the
United States could be settled by commissions and arbitration.
Beirne has the pleasing but superficial style usually associated
with journalists. The book has a splendid index and excellent
maps. Nevertheless, it is a major disappointment. The chief fault
of the book is its totally inadequate bibliography. Fifty books,
the majority by secondary authors, should not constitute enough
of a bibliography for a work of this scope. Beirne ignores the
Canadian historians and most of the better American writers.
He makes no use of monographs, articles, or theses. He admits
he based his work largely on Henry Adams and B. J. Lossing.
He ignores the research of the New Orleans historians who have
disproved completely the fallacious idea that the Battle of New
Orleans had no importance because it was fought after the Treaty
of Ghent. Wars are not ended until the treaties of peace are rati-
fied by both houses of Congress, and this had not occurred at the
time of the battle. He also claims that Great Britain did not
formally abandon her practice of impressment, the ostensible
cause of the War of 1812. This reviewer would like Beirne to
name one example of an American ship being impressed after
1814. For the most part his descriptions of battles and men seem
to be inferior to those of Fletcher Pratt's Heroic Years which, to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/119/: accessed March 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.