A little known fact: There are over 80 book clubs throughout the city of Baltimore (and beyond) that are registered with The Ivy Bookshop. Starting this week, Baltimore Fishbowl will feature a current read from a local book club that is currently registered with the Ivy. Lucky for us, their pics are noted online at Club Ivy.
This week’s pick from the Book Worms Book Club:
When Britain Burned the White House: The 1814 Invasion of Washington (Hardcover)
In August 1814, the United States army was defeated just outside Washington, D.C., by the world’s greatest military power. President James Madison and his wife had just enough time to flee the White House before the British invaders entered. British troops stopped to feast on the meal still sitting on the Madisons’ dining-room table before setting the White House on fire. The extent of the destruction was massive; finished in wood rather than marble, everything inside the mansion was combustible. Only the outer stone walls would withstand the fire.
The tide of the War of 1812 would quickly turn, however. Less than a month later, American troops would stand victorious at the Battle of Fort McHenry. Poet Francis Scott Key, struck by the sight of the American flag waving over Fort McHenry, jotted down the beginnings of a poem that would be set to music and become the U.S. national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
In his compelling narrative style, Peter Snow recounts the fast-changing fortunes of that summer’s extraordinary confrontations. Drawing from a wealth of material, including eyewitness accounts, Snow describes the colorful personalities on both sides of those spectacular events: including the beleaguered President James Madison and First Lady Dolley, American heroes such as Joshua Barney and Sam Smith, and flawed military leaders like Army Chief William Winder and War Secretary John Armstrong. On the British side, Snow re-creates the fiery Admiral George Cockburn, the cautious but immensely popular Major General Robert Ross, and sharp-eyed diarists James Scott and George Gleig.
When Britain Burned the White House highlights this unparalleled moment in British and American history, the courageous, successful defense of Fort McHenry and the American triumph that would follow, and America’s and Britain’s decision to never again fight each other.
About the Author
PETER SNOW is a highly respected British journalist, author, and broadcaster. He was ITN’s diplomatic and defence correspondent from 1966 to 1979 and presented Newsnight from 1980 to 1997. An indispensable part of election nights, he has also covered military matters on and off the world’s battlefields for forty years. Peter is married and has six children.
Praise for When Britain Burned the White House: The 1814 Invasion of Washington…
“[An] excellent account…Snow, an experienced British journalist, has told the story of those engagements with brio and a fine gift for making sense of the complexities of battle… a fine example of serious and literate popular history… It ranks with Anthony S. Pitch’s fine “The Burning of Washington” (2000) as among the best accounts of a war that hardly deserves to be forgotten.”—Washington Post
“With ample quotes from English letters and diaries, Snow ably brings out the humanity of his subjects.”—Kirkus Reviews
The Ivy Bookshop is Baltimore’s literary bookstore.We actively support book clubs and their members throughout the city.
As a registered Club Ivy member, you are entitled to a number of benefits:
1 Club Ivy participants will receive a 10% discount on all book club purchases.
2 Upon request, The Ivy will host catered book club meetings for its registered clubs.
3 Registered Club Ivy members will be invited to participate in publisher-sponsored receptions and other book events, some of them invitation-only.
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