NEWPORT, R.I. – As the U.S. Navy prepares to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, a book authored by U.S. Naval War College (NWC) Professor Kevin McCranie entitled “Utmost Gallantry: The U.S. and Royal Navies at Sea in the War of 1812” hit the bookstands recently and recalls America’s second conflict with Great Britain.
After the publication of his last book “Admiral Lord Keith and the Naval War Against Napoleon” five years ago, McCranie began to search for something new to write about. Despite a growing list of topics to consider, McCranie said the War of 1812 was not one of them.
“About four years ago, I thought the War of 1812 might be a good topic for a professional journal article,” said McCranie. “The more I researched, the more I discovered previous authors didn’t deal with the important aspects of the naval war or simply espoused biased opinions or a nationalistic perspective.”
McCranie’s knowledge of British naval history and the Napoleonic wars led him to conclude much of the published material on the War of 1812 contained bias and served other purposes than providing a historic account. In writing “Utmost Gallantry,” McCranie said he wanted to make sure readers weren’t misguided by incorrect information or interpretations.
“The War of 1812 is significant because it paved the way for future development of the U.S. Navy,” said McCranie. “Challenging the most dominant naval power of the time, the less powerful U.S. Navy found ways to protract the war and incurred significant costs for Great Britain. That’s why the War of 1812 is important for national leaders to study.”
The publication of McCranie’s book comes at a great time when people may have a renewed interest in this period of American history. Starting in April 2012 through 2014 the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard will celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 with events around the country. Large Navy celebration events are being planned for Baltimore, New York, Norfolk, Cleveland, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans.
“This book really started out as an article until I started to dig,” said McCranie. “As I began to write, it did occur to me the bicentennial of the war was approaching. I hope this book provides a fresh perspective at a time where people might be interested in learning more.”
From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Posted by Brie Lyons
NOTE: the views expressed in “Utmost Gallantry: The U.S. and Royal Navies at Sea in the War of 1812” are the authors’ own and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Naval War College, the Department of the Navy or Department of Defense or any other organization of the U.S. government.