For Canadians, the War of 1812 has held various meanings at different times. In the immediate aftermath, alongside the “Loyalist” narrative of fleeing from the defeat of the British at the hands of American rebels, the war was regarded as redemptive for those still loyal to British North America. From the American perspective, it is merely one in a host of small-scale wars in North America, and the events of 1812–1815 are mostly forgotten in the collective memory of the United States.
The authors of 1812: A Guide to the War and Its Legacy believe that the War of 1812 was an important event in North American history with lasting consequences for Canadians, Americans, and First Nations. This guidebook, published by the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, uses modern satellite images, archival records, paintings, and contemporary photographs to help readers understand what happened during the war and why it happened that way.
The book includes a historical section that seeks to place events in their strategic, operational, and human context. A tour section is designed to introduce and guide readers to key locations of war and memory and offer an explanation of the fluid memory that has evolved over the last two hundred years. The War of 1812 has been forgotten, reimagined, and invented anew many times, and the itineraries of the guide illustrate that ever-changing process of commemoration.
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