Defender of Canada: Sir George Prevost and the War of 1812, by John R. Grodzinski
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013. Pp. xxii, 376. Illus., maps., tables, appends, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 0806143878.
Canada’s Forgotten Hero of 1812
, who had an impressive career in the British Army and as a colonial administrator, has been treated poorly historians for his years as commander-in-chief in British North America (1811-1812). In this comprehensive biography, Prof. Grodzinski (Royal Military College of Canada) does a very good job of rescuing the man’s reputation, which rests largely on the failure of his invasion of New York in 1814.
Grodzinski opens with
two chapters that
review Prevost’s early career up to his appointment
in Canada. He then delves deeply into Prevost’s actions in Canada.
reparations for war
are covered in a single chapter, in which he
the strategic picture, the resources available, and Prevost’s operational planning. The events of 1812 and 1813 are covered in three chapters,
covering the initial operations in 1812, the heavy fighting on the Lake Ontario front in early 1813, and
culminating in the repulse of a broad front American invasion
later that year
. Two chapters cover the strategic situation at the onset of 1814 and
invasion of New York. The campaign itself, which culminated in the twin battles of Plattsburg and Lake Champlain
(Sept. 6-11, 1814), is
covered in detail in one chapter.
an account of the court martial proceedings against Prevost
for losing the campaign
, which almost destroyed his reputation, and some reflections on the man’s leadership during the War of 1812. With its very useful appendices, that include important letters and other documents, Defender of Canada
a volume in the excellent University of Oklahoma Press series “Campaigns and Commanders,”
is not only an excellent biography of an underrated commander, but also an essential read for anyone interested in the War of 1812.
Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor
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