The War of 1812 is a perfect example of how a war should not be conducted. Congress failed to supply sufficient revenue to support the ill-equipped, poorly trained militia. There was little effective coordination of the war effort from Washington. The American people themselves were sharply divided over the nation’s involvement, and many states failed to mobilize their militias when directed by the government, declaring that the federal demands were unconstitutional. From the Battle of Tippecanoe to the Treaty of Ghent, John K. Mahon’s War of 1812 is the definitive story of this blunder-filled episode in American history. Here are the exciting tales of Zachary Taylor’s brave defense of Fort Harrison; the massacre at Fort Mims; the duel between the frigates Constitution and Java off the coast of Brazil; the disaster at the River Raisin; William Hull’s loss of Detroit and his subsequent court-martial for treason and cowardice; Francis Scott Key’s composition of ”The Star Spangled Banner”; the contest for naval supremacy on the Great Lakes; the burning of Washington; and the Battle of New Orleans. Detailed enough for scholars, yet vivid enough for the general reader, Mahon’s study will remain the standard source for anyone who wishes to gain a complete understanding of the War of 1812.