Stephen Budiansky's War of 1812 account, "Perilous Fight"
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, January 21, 2011; 10:27 AM
Reading Stephen Budiansky's rousing story of the naval War of 1812, it is hard not to hum a few bars of the old Aretha Franklin standby. Respect is what the Americans wanted from their former colonial masters, and respect is what they got.
Great Britain in the early 19th century ruled the waves. Her navy was 100 times the size of America's, and the British were arrogant, to say the least, about asserting their superiority from sea to shore. Routinely stopping American ships to "press" sailors into the Royal Navy, ever-hungry for manpower to fight the Napoleonic Wars, the British ignored American protests.
Budiansky, who writes with sure and vivid command, . . . read more