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BLOG: The War of 1812, a bicentennial guide

Tom Jackson • Apr 2, 2012 at 5:52 PM

200 years ago, Ohio residents took on the British, the Canadians and various tribes of Native Americans. Here's a guide to finding out more.

For a good overview, look for the just-published Bicentennial Edition of "The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict" by Donald R. Hickey. I've been learning something interesting on every page. I had no idea, for example, that the U.S. fought an undeclared naval war with France in between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. I'll post a full review of the book when I finish it.

Lake Erie was a battlefield for the war in the west. (In those days, Ohio was in the west.)

A retired Bowling Green State University Professor, David Curtis Skaggs, is a leading scholar on the local war. He's written two award-winning books: "A Signal Victory: The Lake Erie Campaign 1812-1813" and "Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage and Patriotism in the Early U.S. Navy."

Both books are available at Sandusky Library and other local libraries (in some cases, you will have to use CLEVNET). "A Signal Victory" will be reprinted in June by the Naval Institute Press and an electronic version will be issued later this year, a spokesman says. Skaggs has edited a new book, "The Battle of Lake Erie and Its Aftermath," with contributions from several historians, that will be out next year from Kent State University Press. "A Signal Victory," which Hickey says is a "fine study" of the war on the lake, is next on my reading list.

Hickey also has compiled a list of the "Top 25" War of 1812 books, which you can read here. Many are old books that have entered the public domain, so you may be able to find free electronic copies on the Internet.

Ohio's War of 1812 Commission has a website that includes a calendar of events and a bibliography of books on the war. The Library of Congress guide to the War of 1812 is here.

PBS did a documentary on the war last year. If you missed it, you can watch it here.

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