Most Warlike Appearance: Uniforms, Flags and Equipment of the United
States in the War of 1812
by René Chartrand
196 pages, 190 illustrations, hardcover, color plates
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Review by Robert Henderson
in 1992 when this book first was released, it was welcomed with almost a
sense of relief by War of 1812 enthusiasts. Finally a well
researched book had been written on the military "material culture" of
United States Forces in the War of 1812. It was all there:
Artillery, Infantry, Riflemen, Cavalry, Navy and Marines. So I
years later, my copy went missing. "No problem" I thought. "I will just buy another." To my horror it
was sold out and out of print. "Keep calm Robert." I
told myself. I will just scan the used book websites and pick
up a slightly worn copy. After a lot of searching over a span of
months, a copy came up for sale. The price? $200.00!
Since then the price for a used copy of the original soft cover edition
has floated around $150.00 to $200.00.
forward 19 years to today. "It's back!" "It's finally back!"
Better still, it is new and improved.
You see, when you write a book there is a viral response from its readers.
Out of the woodwork comes little known artefacts and documents that are
passed on to the author by interested individuals. This new
information is then added to the work, making the process almost "open
source". In almost two decades, Mr Chartrand has certainly
collected new information and has revisited some of his original
conclusions. The end result is a book with more illustrations and
20 more pages of new findings and happily in hardcover format. In
comparing the first edition and this one, it looks like the printing
is clearer, which is a bonus since there are 190 illustrations. If
you are like me, the book is a resource that is consulted often
and a soft cover just does not hold up the constant flipping back and
forth. Mr Chartrand's thoroughness shines through in this
work and the
fact the publisher allowed so many endnotes is a relief.
complaint is that a couple of artefact photos in the original version
have been replaced with line drawings. While it is only a handful of
images, it irritates me because it is obvious that the institutions
entrusted with these historic objects thought they could grab some cash
from the author. These MBA wannabes occupying
museum positions really don't get it. The reason they exist is to
preserve and promote their collection. That is why the items were
donated to them in the first place! What better way to get their
collection known then by getting it published. If CNN showed
up and wanted to do a special report on their museum, would the
curator or museum board say: "Yes but you have to pay us for every artefact
shown on television." Happily only a few museums act in this poor
manner. (End of Rant.)
conclude, this book is a must for anyone interested in the United States
Military in the War of 1812. If you are an artist, novelist,
historian, museum professional, reenactor, archaeologist, collector, war
gamer, or miniaturist, I just can't see you working without this
Table of Contents and