In August 1814, the world’s foremost military power defeated the US army just outside Washington DC. The president and his wife had just enough time to escape the White House before the British invaders entered. With dinner still sitting on the dining-room table, the British troops dined before setting the White House on fire. The tide of the War of 1812 quickly turned, however, at The Battle of Fort McHenry, where it was America who stood victorious.
In his compelling narrative style, Peter Snow recounts the fast-changing fortunes of this summer's extraordinary confrontations, the outcome of which inspired the writing of our national anthem. With a wealth of material including eyewitness accounts, he also describes the colorful personalities on both sides of these spectacular events: Britain’s fiery Admiral Cockburn, the cautious but immensely popular army commander Robert Ross, and sharp-eyed diarists James Scott and George Gleig. On the American side: beleaguered President James Madison and First Lady Dolley, military heroes such as Joshua Barney and Sam Smith, and flawed incompetents like Army Chief William Winder and War Secretary John Armstrong.When Britain Burned the White House
highlights this unparalleled moment in American history, its far-reaching consequences, and Britain’s and America’s decision to never again fight each other.