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English lawyer and historian William James wrote this book in 1817 to counter what he considered the bombastic, patriotic, and false version of the war put forward by American authors. To free the war from "American dross," James used his legal mind to pick through a wealth of evidence and came to the conclusion that "no American ship of war has, after all, captured a British ship of the same force." Many of the work's more controversial and vociferous passages were deleted or toned down for his six-volume history of the Royal Navy published in 1826, but this fully reset classic—which includes more than one hundred contemporary official documents—allows readers to appreciate the full force of James's original arguments.
Andrew Lambert is Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies at King's College, London, and Director of the Laughton Naval History Unit. He has taught at a number of British universities and defense academies. His work focuses on the naval and strategic history of the British Empire between the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War. His books include The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia 1853-1856, 1990 and 2011, 'The Foundations of Naval History': Sir John Laughton, the Royal Navy and the Historical Profession 1997; War at Sea in the Age of Sail, 2000, Nelson: Britannia’s God of War 2004, Franklin: Tragic hero of Polar Navigation. 2009 and The Challenge: Britain versus America in the Naval War of 1812 2012, winner of the Anderson Medal of the Society for Nautical Research.
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