When Britain Burned the White House

Written by Peter Snow
Review by Edward James

There has been such a flurry of books, articles, radio and TV programmes and festival events about the War of 1812 that it surely no longer deserves to be described as ‘the obscure war’ (HNR, Aug. 2013). This latest contribution is from the well-known BBC broadcaster Peter Snow. By concentrating on the campaign that captured Washington and failed to capture Baltimore, Snow highlights the more victorious aspects of the war, from the British viewpoint. In truth it was an inconclusive war, which both sides remember as a victory. The only conclusive outcome would have been an American conquest of Canada. Snow tells us nothing new, but he tells it very well with his usual verve, and his work is solidly grounded on contemporary sources, British and American.