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BOOKS ALREADY PUBLISHED

Each month we present an important recent book, and every week we report on recent publications.
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WATSON Robert P., America's First Crisis - The War of 1812


Description:  
From the publishers:
 
"The War of 1812, sometimes called “America's forgotten war,” was a curious affair. At the time, it was dismissed as “Mr. Madison's War.” Later it was hailed by some as America's “Second War for Independence” and ridiculed by others, such as President Harry Truman, as “the silliest damned war we ever had.” The conflict, which produced several great heroes and future presidents, was all this and more.
 
In America's First Crisis Robert P. Watson tells the stories of the most intriguing battles and leaders and shares the most important blunders and victories of the war. What started out as an effort to invade Canada, fueled by anger over the harassment of American merchant ships by the Royal Navy, soon turned into an all-out effort to fend off an invasion by Britain. Armies marched across the Canadian border and sacked villages; navies battled on Lake Ontario, Lake Champlain, and the world's oceans; both the American and Canadian capitals were burned; and, in a final irony, the United States won its greatest victory in New Orleans—after the peace treaty had been signed."
 
 
Table of Contents:
 
Preface
 
The Forgotten War
1. “The Silliest Damned War”
2. Stumbling Toward War
3. The Chesapeake Affair
4. “Leopardized”
 
Drumbeats
5. Land, Empire, and Intrigue
6. The Indian Question
7. Tippecanoe and the Course of History
8. A Declaration of War
 
“On to Canada”
9. The Invasion Begins
10. The Battle of Queenston Heights
11. Three-Pronged Disaster
12. “Remember the Raisin”
 
1813
13. The Sacking of York
14. Victories at Last
15. The Battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams
16. The Battle of Thames
 
The High Seas
17. The Making of a Navy
18. A New Generation of Heroes
19. Blockade
20. The Cursed Chesapeake
 
The Great Lakes Theater
21. “We Have Met the Enemy and They Are Ours”
22. The Battle of the Carpenters
23. Saving Canada
24. Turning the Tables on the Invaders
 
1814
25. Canada's Bloodiest Battle
26. Victory on Lake Champlain
27. “The Bladensburg Races”
28. The Burning of the White House
 
Turning Points
29. The Defense of Baltimore
30. “Oh Say Can You See”
31. The Siege of Fort Erie
32. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend
 
Echoes
33. The Southern Campaign
34. The Treaty of Ghent
35. The Battle of New Orleans
36. The Making of a Nation
 
Appendix
Notes
Select Bibliography
About the Author
Index

More details and reviews on the publisher's website: SUNY Press.

Place and publisher: SUNY Press

Date of publication: 2014

Number of pages: 425



This week’s book(s):

Description:  

From the publishers:
 
"An Age of Neutrals provides a pioneering history of neutrality in Europe and the wider world between the Congress of Vienna and the outbreak of the First World War. The 'long' nineteenth century (1815–1914) was an era of unprecedented industrialization, imperialism and globalization; one which witnessed Europe's economic and political hegemony across the world. Dr Maartje Abbenhuis explores the ways in which neutrality reinforced these interconnected developments. She argues that a passive conception of neutrality has thus far prevented historians from understanding the high regard with which neutrality, as a tool of diplomacy and statecraft and as a popular ideal with numerous applications, was held. This [...] new history exposes neutrality as a vibrant and essential part of the nineteenth-century international system; a powerful instrument used by great and small powers to solve disputes, stabilize international relations and promote a variety of interests within and outside the continent."


Place and publisher: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Date of publication: 2014

Number of pages: 297

Description:  

From the publishers:
 
"Convened following Napoleon's defeat in 1814, the Congress of Vienna is remembered as much for the pageantry of the royals and elites who gathered there as for the landmark diplomatic agreements they brokered. Historians have nevertheless generally dismissed these spectacular festivities as window dressing when compared with the serious, behind-the-scenes maneuverings of sovereigns and statesmen. Brian Vick finds this conventional view shortsighted, seeing these instead as two interconnected dimensions of politics. Examining them together yields a more complete picture of how one of the most important diplomatic summits in history managed to redraw the map of Europe and the international system of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
 
The Congress of Vienna investigates the Vienna Congress within a broad framework of influence networks that included unofficial opinion-shapers of all kinds, both men and women: artists and composers, entrepreneurs and writers, hosts and attendees of fashionable salons. In addition to high-profile negotiation and diplomatic wrangling over the post-Napoleonic fates of Germany, Italy, and Poland, Vick brings into focus other understudied yet significant issues: the African slave trade, Jewish rights, and relations with Islamic powers such as the Ottoman Empire and Barbary Corsairs. Challenging the usual portrayal of a reactionary Congress obsessed with rolling back Napoleon's liberal reforms, Vick demonstrates that the Congress's promotion of limited constitutionalism, respect for religious and nationality rights, and humanitarian interventions was influenced as much by liberal currents as by conservative ones."


Place and publisher: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Date of publication: 2014

Number of pages: 448

Description:  
 
From the publishers:
 
"In an account of one of the critical turning points in American history, Through the Perilous Fight tells the gripping story of the burning of Washington and the improbable last stand at Baltimore that helped save the nation and inspired its National Anthem.
 
In the summer of 1814, the United States of America teetered on the brink of disaster. The war it had declared against Great Britain two years earlier appeared headed toward inglorious American defeat. The young nation's most implacable nemesis, the ruthless British Admiral George Cockburn, launched an invasion of Washington in a daring attempt to decapitate the government and crush the American spirit. The British succeeded spectacularly, burning down most of the city's landmarks—including the White House and the Capitol—and driving President James Madison from the area. As looters ransacked federal buildings and panic gripped the citizens of Washington, beleaguered American forces were forced to regroup for a last-ditch defense of Baltimore. The outcome of that “perilous fight” would help change the outcome of the war—and with it, the fate of the fledgling American republic.
 
In a fast-paced, character-driven narrative, Steve Vogel tells the story of this titanic struggle from the perspective of both sides. Like an epic novel, Through the Perilous Fight abounds with heroes, villains, and astounding feats of derring-do. The vindictive Cockburn emerges from these pages as a pioneer in the art of total warfare, ordering his men to “knock down, burn, and destroy” everything in their path. While President Madison dithers on how to protect the capital, Secretary of State James Monroe personally organizes the American defenses, with disastrous results. Meanwhile, a prominent Washington lawyer named Francis Scott Key embarks on a mission of mercy to negotiate the release of an American prisoner. His journey will place him with the British fleet during the climactic Battle for Baltimore, and culminate in the creation of one of the most enduring compositions in the annals of patriotic song: “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
 
Like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, the burning of Washington was a devastating national tragedy that ultimately united America and renewed its sense of purpose. Through the Perilous Fight combines bravura storytelling with brilliantly rendered character sketches to recreate the thrilling six-week period when Americans rallied from the ashes to overcome their oldest adversary—and win themselves a new birth of freedom."


Place and publisher: New York: Random House

Date of publication: 2014

Number of pages: 560

Description:  
 
From the publishers:
 
"Rebellion is brewing in Napoleonic Paris in the fourth adventure in the [...] Regency thriller series featuring enigmatic Matthew Hawkwood October 1812: Britain and France are still at war. France is engaged on two battle fronts—Spain and Russia—and her civilians are growing weary of the fight. Rebellion is brewing. Since Napoleon Bonaparte appointed himself as First Consul, there have been several attempts to either kill or overthrow him. All have failed, so far! Meanwhile in London, Bow Street Runner Matthew Hawkwood has been seconded to the foreign arm of the Secret Service. There, he meets the urbane Henry Brooke, who tells him he's to join a colleague in Paris on a special mission. Brooke's agent has come up with a daring plan and he needs Hawkwood's help to put it into action.If the plan is successful it could lead to a negotiated peace treaty between France and the allies. Failure would mean prison, torture and a meeting with the guillotine."


Place and publisher: New York: Pegasus

Date of publication: 2014

Number of pages: 356

Description:  
 
From the publishers:
 
"...With seventeen years of rule and fifty years of exile, Empress Eugénie was France's last female sovereign. One of history's survivors, she died almost a century ago at the age of 94. Having established herself in England after the fall of the Second Empire, Napoleon III's widow – with her Spanish origins and familial ties to Italy – epitomized the federated Europe for which she worked tirelessly in the hope of preventing the First World War.
 
In 1895, Eugénie built a villa at Cap Martin, near to Menton and opposite the Rock of Monaco. She held this summer home until her death in 1920. In this remote, wild and arid region of the south of France, which had become the number one spot for wealthy winter visitors, the first pleasure gardens appeared in the ground of magnificent villas, inspired by the English aristocracy and German gardening know-how. The antique garden was thus reinvented and a touch of exoticism perfected the harmony of these new spaces and radically transformed the southern landscape.
 
Created in the image of its illustrious patron, the garden of the Villa Cyrnos served as the backdrop to the Empress's social life and allowed her to get closer to both her household and to the princely, intellectual and artistic personalities who passed through the Riviera. Queen Victoria, Empress Elizabeth of Austria (known as Sissi), Tsar Nicholas II, Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Alphonse XIII of Spain, the Shah of Persia, the sculptor Rodin, the famous Coco Chanel and even the young Jean Cocteau were amongst her guests.
 
Thanks to the first-hand accounts of the select few who were invited into the inner circle of this “court” and the memoirs of Eugénie's gardener, this book lifts the veil on the last years of one of the most famous women in France's history. It captures, too, the atmosphere of this extraordinary space, which was witness to the beginnings of the cultural and social life for which the Côte d'Azur would become the stage..."

 
Translated from the French by FWC, November 2014.


Place and publisher: Paris: Éditions Somogy

Date of publication: 2014

Number of pages: 224


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