Top positive review
Focused on the Loyalists of Ontario
Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2019
The title "The Civil War of 1812" is meant to emphasize how Loyalists and Patriots were everywhere among each other, fighting each other and sometimes brother against brother. Unlike most wars, the two sides were not in two places like the north/south Civil War of 1861-1865. I bought this book hoping to learn more about how the Loyalists were affected by, and participated in, this war. I had hoped to see more on the much smaller number of the earliest Loyalists who defected to Quebec. The author writes in his introduction that his aim is to tell us about the people on both sides of the border. In that he is successful. Other histories on this war emphasize the battles and the war itself. We need to know how the people fared during this war. Many just wanted to be left alone, not to be bothered by either side or conscripted into militias to fight. The extensive footnotes and bibliography show us that the author has done a very thorough job and gives us more sources to investigate. The many maps, portraits and scenes are helpful.
I doubt anyone else could have done a better job with this particular focus on the war. To those reviewers who think he was unduly un-American in his style, we must remember the Loyalists held their convictions just as earnestly and honestly as the Patriots, and their side needs to be presented, too. Too much, the Loyalists were written out, or left out, of the American history because they were "traitors" and called "Tories," as somewhat pejorative term. And so, their history has not been presented. This book helps fill us in. Dense with detail, a second reading would be worthwhile to gain more information.