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Synopsis

Begun in ignorance of the military reality, the War of 1812 was our "most unmilitary war," fought catch-as-catch-can with raw troops, incompetent officers, and appallingly inadequate logistics. American soil was invaded along three frontiers, thte nation's capital was occupied and burned, and the secession of the New England states loomed as a possibility. In Amateurs, to Arms! distinguished military historian Colonel John R. Elting shows how the young republic fought and almost lost its "Second War for Independence," and how it was saved by the handful of amateur soldiers and sailors who survived, masters their deadly new professions, and somehow battled Great Britain to a standstill along our wilderness borders and on the high seas.

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