This is the first book that looks closely at the major battles of the War of 1812 from a business and political perspective. Sweeny goes behind the scenes to explore wartime trading activity, particularly American dealings with Napoleon, 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.
The author focuses on the wealth of military screw-ups. What did the generals do before each battle to lose, 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 the president's wife, Dolley Madison, who could have won the war single-handedly had she been able to get all the generals together in the same drawing room.close this panel
Alastair Sweeny is the author of a biography of George-Etienne Cartier, as well as two recent business books, BlackBerry Planet, on RIM's smartphone, and Black Bonanza, on Canada's oilsands. He is also co-author and producer of History of Canada Online. He lives in Ottawa.close this panel