The War of 1812, by Pierre Berton

Two classics of Canadian popular history, Pierre Berton’s The Invasion of Canada and Flames Across the Border, have been reissued in one volume for this bicentennial of the War of 1812 under the title Pierre Berton’s War of 1812. Berton dramatizes events with a present-tense narrative which incorporates both imagined speech and genuine quotations from primary source materials such as letters and reports. He relates colourful, and occasionally gruesome, anecdotes of the war, bringing the romance and horror of the conflict to life, while making a convincing case for the significance of this war for the future of British North America and thus for Canada as a nation. Not an academic history and occasionally sounding very much a product of the late seventies (the two volumes were originally published in 1980 and 1981), the book nonetheless provides a dramatic and character-driven introduction to this crucial period in the history of what would become Canada.