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Wesley B. Turner.

Toronto, Grolier, c1982.
96pp, cloth, $8.95.
ISBN 0-7172-1822-8.

Grades 7 and up.
Reviewed by Gary Wirzba.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

One of the more controversial topics in Canadian history is the War of 1812, called the "Incredible War" by one historian. As a professor of history at Brock University, Dr. Turner has done considerable research in this period of history. Also, having been a high school teacher for seven years makes him well qualified to write a book with the needs of the high school student in mind. The author is to be commended for giving such an objective account of a topic, which is rather controversial. There is no indication anywhere of a pro-American or pro-British bias. The author clarifies the complexities of the war in a very succinct manner and writes in a readable style that is appealing to young people.

As the book clearly points out, the War of 1812 was an adjunct of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, and, as a result, events in Europe very much affected the course of the war in North America. The causes of the war, as well as the relative strengths and weaknesses of both sides are well stated. The mood of the people is clearly visualized, and the difficulties and strategies involved in fighting an inland naval battle and along a largely undefended border are made very apparent in the discussion of the war. The roles of such leading personalities as President Madison, William Henry Harrison, Oliver Perry, Andrew Jackson, the valiant Tecumseh, Sir Isaac Brock, Capt. Robert Barclay, Sir George Prevost, Col. Charles Michel de Salaberry, Sir Provo William Wallis, and the heroic deed of Laura Secord are adequately portrayed. The outcome of the war brought no major changes to the map of North America, and there was no real decisive victor. However, as far as Canada is concerned, the War of 1812 rallied all Canadians for a common cause.

This book as the other books in the series Focus on Canadian History, follows the same design and maintains the high standard quality. The book is well illustrated with appropriate maps and pictures. At the back of the book there are some brief selected biographies of major personalities, an annotated bibliography, and a chapter-by-chapter framework of questions for discussions, which could be more appropriately placed at the end of the respective chapters.

Gary Wirzba, Alberta Education, Edmonton, AB.
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