The most recommended War of 1812 books

Who picked these books? Meet our 26 experts.

26 authors created a book list connected to the War of 1812, and here are their favorite War of 1812 books.
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Book cover of The Iroquois in the War of 1812

Wesley B. Turner Author Of The Astonishing General: The Life and Legacy of Sir Isaac Brock

From my list on answers to your questions about the War of 1812.

Who am I?

From my childhood, I loved to read and as I passed through school, I became increasingly fascinated by the lives and activities of people in the past. History became my passion during my high school years when I learned how to research and write historical accounts. During my thirty-eight-year teaching career, I focused my research and writings on pioneer life in Canada, immigration, and the war of 1812. I’m the author of six books, 17 biographies, and numerous articles and chapters in books. My experience as an editor began in high school with the school’s yearbook and has continued through my teaching years and into retirement. With history, there’s always more to learn.

Wesley's book list on answers to your questions about the War of 1812

Wesley B. Turner Why did Wesley love this book?

This book written by a leading scholar of indigenous history fills a serious gap in scholarly studies of that conflict. Whether or not to remain neutral or, if they participated, which side to support in the war were life and death decisions for the Iroquois or Haudenosaunee. Benn’s account with a very informative appendix and bibliography adds to our understanding of how those nations responded.

By Carl Benn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Iroquois in the War of 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Until now, the story of Iroquois participation in the War of 1812 has not received detailed examination, and there have consequently been major gaps in our understanding of the Iroquois, their relations with Euroamerican society, and the course of the war itself. The Iroquois in the War of 1812 proves that, in fact, the Six Nations' involvement was 'too significant to ignore.' Benn explores this involvement by focusing on Iroquois diplomatic, military, and cultural history during the conflict. He looks at the Iroquois' attempts to stay out of the war, their entry into hostilities, their modes of warfare, the roles…


Book cover of Tennesseans at War, 1812-1815: Andrew Jackson, the Creek War, and the Battle of New Orleans

Mike Bunn Author Of Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812

From my list on understanding the Creek War of 1813 to 1814.

Who am I?

I have spent a large part of my career researching and writing about the pivotal era in which these conflicts occurred, and continue to be intrigued by these cataclysmic events and their repercussions. Many conflicts in this nation’s history compete for the title of most unknown war, but the Creek War of 1813-1814 and the related southern campaigns of the War of 1812 have perhaps the best claim on that notoriety. Yet these conflicts nonetheless dramatically altered the United States’ history. They led to the forced removal of native tribes, ushered in the era of slave-based cotton agriculture in the Old Southwest, secured large portions of the Gulf South against European powers, and launched the career of one of America’s most influential military and political leaders. 

Mike's book list on understanding the Creek War of 1813 to 1814

Mike Bunn Why did Mike love this book?

In this book longtime Tennessee archivist Tom Kanon presents the most detailed analysis of the Volunteer State’s role in the Creek War and the War of 1812. That role is disproportionately large, considering that it raised the majority of the troops involved in the former and supplied the pivotal American leadership which played significant roles in winning both in the form of Andrew Jackson. The book is not exclusively focused on Tennesseans despite the title, and does a commendable job of telling the story of the war and the Battle at New Orleans in their entirety.

By Tom Kanon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tennesseans at War, 1812-1815 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tennesseans at War, 1812-1815 by Tom Kanon tells the often forgotten story of the central role citizens and soldiers from Tennessee played in the Creek War in Alabama and War of 1812.Tennesseans at War, 1812-1815 by Tom Kanon tells the often forgotten story of the central role citizens and soldiers from Tennessee played in the Creek War in Alabama and War of 1812.

Although frequently discussed as separate military conflicts, the War of 1812 against Great Britain and the Creek War against Native Americans in the territory that would become Alabama were part of the same forceful projection of growing…


Book cover of Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey

Joseph G. Bilby Author Of The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey

From my list on New Jersey history.

Who am I?

I grew up in New Jersey and my paternal ancestors have lived here since 1732. My ancestors served in the Civil War, my father served in World War II and I also served in the military. From an early age, I wanted to be a writer, and that ambition, as well as my experience as an army officer in the Vietnam War, provided the sparks that ignited my writing career.

Joseph's book list on New Jersey history

Joseph G. Bilby Why did Joseph love this book?

Folklore is not history, nor is history folklore, but they often intersect. Henry Charlton Beck, a journalist who became an Episcopal priest and who wrote a series of New Jersey folklife classics, began his career with this volume, stories of abandoned iron forges, villages, and forgotten legends in the state’s iconic Pinelands. Rutgers University Press reprinted Beck’s books, beginning with this book in 1961.

By Henry Charlton Beck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Composed, for the most part, from sketches that were published in the Courier-Post newspapers of Camden, New Jersey, Beck provides us with a series of stories of towns too tiny or uncertain for today's maps. Together, these sketches help to create a more complete picture of the history of New Jersey. A connecting skein of untold or little known wartime history--the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the conflict of North against South--runs through most of the sketches. Many of the sketches concern the pine towns and their people, ""the pineys"" who lived in the Jersey pine barrens.


Book cover of Where Right and Glory Lead!: The Battle of Lundy's Lane, 1814

Donald R. Hickey Author Of The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict

From my list on the War of 1812 (along with some primary sources).

Who am I?

I’m an award-winning author and professor of history at Wayne State College in Nebraska. Called “the dean of 1812 scholarship” by the New Yorker, I’ve written eleven books and more than a hundred articles, mostly on the War of 1812 and its causes. I’ve been passionate about the War of 1812 ever since first studying it as an undergraduate in college.  Although the outcome on the battlefields was inconclusive and the war is largely forgotten today, it left a profound and lasting legacy. Since first “discovering” this war, my aim has been to elevate its public profile by showing how it shaped the United States and Canada and Britain’s relationship to both nations for the rest of the nineteenth century and beyond.

Donald's book list on the War of 1812 (along with some primary sources)

Donald R. Hickey Why did Donald love this book?

Canadian Don Graves is the preeminent military historian of the war. No one is better at examining the documentary record and the geographical setting of a battle and reconstructing what happened and presenting it in a coherent and compelling narrative. Graves has written first-class accounts of many of the major battles, but his treatment of the bloody Battle of Lundy’s Lane is perhaps his best work.

By Donald E. Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where Right and Glory Lead! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of one of the most hard-fought actions in North American history. On a summer evening in July 1814, within sight of Niagara Falls, American, British and Canadian soldiers struggled desperately in a close-range battle that raged on into the dark. By morning more than a third had become casualties. The two armies had fought to the point of exhaustion, and who won has long been a matter of dispute.

Lundy’s Lane was the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812 and the bloodiest fought on what is now Canadian soil. It was the high mark of…


Book cover of Defender of Canada, Volume 40: Sir George Prevost and the War of 1812

Jonathon Riley Author Of A Matter of Honour: The Life, Campaigns and Generalship of Isaac Brock

From my list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom.

Who am I?

I served for 40 years in the British Army, including many tours of active duty. I commanded operations in every rank, from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General. I had the privilege of commanding not only British troops, but also troops from the USA, Canada, Australia, and more. I was Director-General and Master of the Royal Armouries and since 2013 I have been Visiting Professor in War Studies at King’s College London. I hold three degrees including a PhD. I've published more than 20 books and numerous articles. I continue to learn new things from history every day, as well as passing on our history to others, and that’s what books are all about.

Jonathon's book list on the War of 1812 and Canadian sacrifice for freedom

Jonathon Riley Why did Jonathon love this book?

John Grodzinski was a career army officer in the Canadian military and a professor of history at the RMC. He is also a personal friend of many years. His subject, Sir George Prevost, is one of the neglected heroes of the War of 1812. He was neglected at the time, as the attention of the Government in London was far more engaged by Napoleon than President Madison; neglected thereafter in favour of more glamorous subjects. But it was Prevost’s defensive plans and actions that preserved Canada from the American invasions of 181. Much went wrong as well as right thereafter, and Prevost took the blame. John Grod’s book provides a thoroughly balanced look at what actually happened and why. Having myself been in command of a theatre of military operations far from home, I understand the stresses and strains, and the loneliness of command that Prevost knew all too well.

By John R. Grodzinski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Defender of Canada, Volume 40 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When war broke out between Great Britain and the United States in 1812, Sir George Prevost, captain general and governor in chief of British North America, was responsible for defending a group of North American colonies that stretched as far as the distance from Paris to Moscow. He also commanded one of the largest British overseas forces during the Napoleonic Wars. Defender of Canada, the first book-length examination of Prevost's career, offers a reinterpretation of the general's military leadership in the War of 1812. Historian John R. Grodzinski shows that Prevost deserves far greater credit for the successful defense of…


Book cover of Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

David Fitz-Enz Author Of The Spy on Putney Bridge: A Mystery Novel of Espionage, Murder, and Betrayal in London

From my list on war and warriors.

Who am I?

I am a retired Army Colonel, paratrooper, and aviator who served four tours in Vietnam as a platoon leader of combat photographers in the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade and later as a communication officer in the 1/10 Cavalry Squadron, 4th Infantry Division. Subsequently, I commanded six ties and operated the Moscow Hotline for three Presidents. On retirement, I lectured at the National Archives, Library of Congress, U.S. Naval Museum, and National Army Museum London England. I was also the guest lecturer at the Napoleonic fair, London. I conducted four one-hour television programs on my six books for C-Span Television and appeared on Fox News Network. I was awarded the Distinguished Book Prize from the US Army Historical Foundation and was granted the Military Order of Saint Louis by the Knights Templar, the priory of Saint Patrick, Manhattan, NY for contributions to Military Literature.

David's book list on war and warriors

David Fitz-Enz Why did David love this book?

My first novel, Redcoats’ Revenge, an alternative history of the war of 1812 was a break from the lockstep writing of non-fiction and a relief, in a way. But it became a whole new challenge. A primary character in the book was Andrew Jackson, a man without bounds. I read extensively to find his soul and there it was in Brand’s book.  From his backwoods beginnings to his firebrand speeches in the congress, Bill Brand captures the heart of that warrior. Jackson, a leader we must all emulate, stands out in every crowd as a trailblazer, a warrior, an American frontiersman we all think of when building our own stories. At the end of this volume, you will say to yourself, “what a man”.

By H.W. Brands,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Andrew Jackson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author of The First American comes the first major single-volume biography in a decade of the president who defined American democracy • "A big, rich biography.” —The Boston Globe

H. W. Brands reshapes our understanding of this fascinating man, and of the Age of Democracy that he ushered in. An orphan at a young age and without formal education or the family lineage of the Founding Fathers, Jackson showed that the presidency was not the exclusive province of the wealthy and the well-born but could truly…


Book cover of The Women's Fight: The Civil War's Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation

Nancy A. Hewitt Author Of Radical Friend: Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds

From my list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US.

Who am I?

In Rochester, New York, where I was raised, Susan Anthony and Frederick Douglass are local heroes. But in the late 1960s, I was drawn more to grassroots movements than charismatic leaders. Despite dropping out of college—twice—I completed a B.A. in 1974 and then pursued a PhD in History. My 1981 dissertation and first book focused on three networks of mainly white female activists in nineteenth-century Rochester. Of the dozens of women I studied, Amy Post most clearly epitomized the power of interracial, mixed-sex, and cross-class movements for social justice. After years of inserting Post in articles, textbooks, and websites, I finally published Radical Friend in hopes of inspiring scholars and activists to follow her lead. 

Nancy's book list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US

Nancy A. Hewitt Why did Nancy love this book?

Thavolia Glymph analyzes the many ways that women—white and Black, enslaved and free, North and South—sought to promote or constrain the radical transformations promised by the Civil War. She interweaves well-known stories of white nurses and teachers and northern white feminists who labored to expand their claims on the nation with the lesser-known efforts of free, fugitive, and self-emancipated Black women and poor and working-class white women to ensure that the war led to greater liberty. Even some plantation mistresses became more politically active in efforts to impede Union military campaigns. This powerful book expands our concept of activism, forcing us to rethink its many meanings, sites, and goals in times of crisis. 

By Thavolia Glymph,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Women's Fight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Historians of the Civil War often speak of "wars within a war--the military fight, wartime struggles on the home front, and the political and moral battle to preserve the Union and end slavery. In this broadly conceived book, Thavolia Glymph provides a comprehensive new history of women's roles and lives in the Civil War--North and South, white and black, slave and free--showing how women were essentially and fully engaged in all three arenas. Glymph focuses on the ideas and ideologies that drove women's actions, allegiances, and politics. We encounter women as they stood their ground, moved into each other's territory,…


Book cover of The Windflower

Regan Walker Author Of Summer Warrior

From my list on pirate sea stories.

Who am I?

I am an author of romantic historical fiction and a book reviewer of more than 1,000 books. I also have a blog: Historical Romance Review. I love deep historicals—both my own and those written by others--that bring history and realistic love stories to life. Adventure and love on the high seas is my favorite setting.

Regan's book list on pirate sea stories

Regan Walker Why did Regan love this book?

Set during the War of 1812 this is a great pirate romance. It tells the story of innocent, sheltered Merry Wilding, an American living in Virginia with her maiden aunt. Merry has a talent for drawing faces from memory, a talent her brother, an American spy will use to his benefit, exposing her to pirates and worse. On her way to England with her aunt, she is kidnapped. Taken to a pirate ship, Merry meets the English pirate, Devon, who remembers her from a night long ago. 

The writing is superb, the characters courageous, heartwarming, and very special; the descriptions vivid. The story is a wonder to read. You will be swept away on a pirate ship to experience adventures, battles at sea, storms, death, humor, and love.

By Laura London,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Windflower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic tale of passion on the high seas, available in print for the first time in 20 years ...Merry Wilding is a lady of breeding, of innocence, and of breathtaking beauty. With high hopes for a holiday in England, she sets sail from New York-but the tide of her life is destined to turn. Mistakenly swept aboard an infamous pirate ship, Merry finds herself at the mercy of a wicked crew ...and one sinfully handsome pirate. Soon she's spending her days yearning for escape, and her nights learning the pleasures of captivity. Devon Crandall believes Merry is in league…


Book cover of The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict

David Fitz-Enz Author Of The Spy on Putney Bridge: A Mystery Novel of Espionage, Murder, and Betrayal in London

From my list on war and warriors.

Who am I?

I am a retired Army Colonel, paratrooper, and aviator who served four tours in Vietnam as a platoon leader of combat photographers in the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade and later as a communication officer in the 1/10 Cavalry Squadron, 4th Infantry Division. Subsequently, I commanded six ties and operated the Moscow Hotline for three Presidents. On retirement, I lectured at the National Archives, Library of Congress, U.S. Naval Museum, and National Army Museum London England. I was also the guest lecturer at the Napoleonic fair, London. I conducted four one-hour television programs on my six books for C-Span Television and appeared on Fox News Network. I was awarded the Distinguished Book Prize from the US Army Historical Foundation and was granted the Military Order of Saint Louis by the Knights Templar, the priory of Saint Patrick, Manhattan, NY for contributions to Military Literature.

David's book list on war and warriors

David Fitz-Enz Why did David love this book?

This is the best comprehensive history of the period. The scope is daunting. The book, along with long phone conversations with the author, was my bible when writing Hacks, Sycophants, Adventurers, and Heroes, Madison’s commanders in the War of 1812.  Don not only gives you the facts but is also adept at stinging them together into an absorbing narrative that will keep you looking for the next turning.  The period of the war is filled with the most audacious characters found in any nations’ early history.  From the heroes of the battlefield to the wretched politicians that haunt all our history, you will never find a more gripping read.

By Donald R. Hickey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War of 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This comprehensive and authoritative history of the War of 1812, thoroughly revised for the 200th anniversary of the historic conflict, is a myth-shattering study that will inform and entertain students, historians, and general readers alike. Donald R. Hickey explores the military, diplomatic, and domestic history of our second war with Great Britain, bringing the study up to date with recent scholarship on all aspects of the war, from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. The newly expanded The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, Bicentennial Edition includes additional information on the British forces, American Indians, and military operations such as…


Book cover of 1812: The Navy's War

David Fitz-Enz Author Of The Spy on Putney Bridge: A Mystery Novel of Espionage, Murder, and Betrayal in London

From my list on war and warriors.

Who am I?

I am a retired Army Colonel, paratrooper, and aviator who served four tours in Vietnam as a platoon leader of combat photographers in the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade and later as a communication officer in the 1/10 Cavalry Squadron, 4th Infantry Division. Subsequently, I commanded six ties and operated the Moscow Hotline for three Presidents. On retirement, I lectured at the National Archives, Library of Congress, U.S. Naval Museum, and National Army Museum London England. I was also the guest lecturer at the Napoleonic fair, London. I conducted four one-hour television programs on my six books for C-Span Television and appeared on Fox News Network. I was awarded the Distinguished Book Prize from the US Army Historical Foundation and was granted the Military Order of Saint Louis by the Knights Templar, the priory of Saint Patrick, Manhattan, NY for contributions to Military Literature.

David's book list on war and warriors

David Fitz-Enz Why did David love this book?

There are many great books written about the fledgling US Navy that came into its own during the campaign of 1812.  As an Army officer, I was compelled to read them all when researching if my book, Old Ironsides, Eagle of the Sea if I were to compete with that of the ‘old saults’. George was challenged not only to define the complexities of the fledgling American frigates, but to contrast it with the proven rulers of the waves.  The British navy had not had a significant challenge since the magnificent history laid down by captain Horacio Nelson. The unpresented victories over the Royal Navy’s frigates were “uncalled for” according to the London Times. If there is one book to read about the epic struggle at sea, this is the one to choose.

By George C. Daughan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When war broke out between Britain and the United States in 1812, America's prospects looked dismal. British naval aggression made it clear that the ocean would be the war's primary battlefield,but America's navy, only twenty ships strong, faced a practiced British fleet of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, a handful of heroic captains and their stalwart crews managed to turn the tide of the war, besting the haughty skippers of the mighty Royal Navy and cementing America's newly won independence. In 1812: The Navy's War , award-winning naval historian George…