Synopses & Reviews
In 1812, less than forty years after breaking from Britain, the United States found itself in another war with its former colonial master. Now, during the two hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812 comes Neither Victor nor Vanquished, William Webers reappraisal of this critical but frequently misunderstood conflict. In the first half of the book, Weber reexamines the wars military aspects, highlighting the asymmetric nature of the conflict as the worlds foremost naval power with a credible professional army stood against an idealist republic with commercial and agricultural aspirations but without an adequate navy and army. Weber also attempts to recalibrate popular conceptions of the U.S. forces generally poor performance during Mr. Madisons War,” and frames the War of 1812 in the context of both the Jeffersonian Revolution that preceded the war and the accelerated territorial expansion and consolidation of the United States that eventually led to the American Civil War. The books thought-provoking second half presents alternative outcomes for the War of 1812, reminding us that history is made, not predetermined. Various scenarios arise from differences in two key factorsthe quality of generalship in both armies and the direction of the Napoleonic Wars, which Britain was simultaneously fighting. Weber imagines a worst case scenario for the young republic, an ending worse than a simple military defeat. Indeed, history might have provided a different answer to Francis Scott Keys central question, O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave / Oer the land of the free and the home of the brave?” A final what-if explores a nineteenth-century America that chooses to avoid the War of 1812 and, consequently, the rise of Andrew Jackson.
“William Weber’s Neither Victor nor Vanquished is a timely, fascinating, and provocative analysis of the 1812 War. It is not so much a history as a historiography that rescues the war from relative obscurity by revealing how its results decisively shaped the nation. His evaluations of America’s military and civilian leaders and comparisons of 1812 and Civil War battles are especially thought-provoking. Weber’s book will ignite countless informed and impassioned discussions among its readers.”—William Nester, author of The Art of American Power During the Early Republic series
"Neither Victor Nor Vanquished is a good read for those interested in the War of 1812 or "alternative history.""—NYMAS Review