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A view of the War of 1812 from a social perspective.

This book provides a fresh new view of the battles of the war and goes behind the scenes to explore wartime trading activity, particularly American dealings with Napoleon and cross-border commerce, as well as the activities of John Jacob Astor, America’s richest man and war financier, and his fur-trading partners in Montreal.

There was a wealth of military screw-ups. What did the generals do before each battle to lose it, and what could they have done to win? And did the incompetence and mixed loyalties of Military Governor Sir George Prevost, grandson of a financier of the American Revolution and nephew by marriage of Vice President Aaron Burr, nearly lose Canada for the British?

The book also provides glimpses of some of the fascinating behind-the-scenes players, such as legendary but flawed President Thomas Jefferson, and President Madison’s wife, Dolley, who could have won the war single-handedly had she been able to get all the generals together in the same drawing room.

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