REVIEWS As a thorough account of naval tactics, operations, and strategy during the War of 1812, it will be hard to beat. Still, I wonder about the question of audience. McCranie misses an opportunity to interest a larger group of early republic scholars by choosing not to address naval officers' deep attachment to honor. McCranie begins with an arresting story of honor gone wrong. A British and an American vessel crossed paths in the night, and each ship's officer demanded that the other identify himself first. Each officer, feeling it would be dishonorable to submit to the other's request, refused. Someone started firing, and thirty-two men were killed or injured. Certainly such attitudes affected operations and tactics, but McCranie moves quickly past the impact. Both Dull and McCranie have added to the literature of the early American navy and in doing so have emphasized that the early United States operated from a position of weakness. It is a point worth contemplating as we think about the size and scope of our military today. Da vid H ead is an assistant professor of history at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. He is completing a book manuscript on Spanish
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Nov 18, 2013
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