We’re in a non-fiction mood here chez Sleepless Reader, also helped by the Armchair Audies, which are almost at an end. I’ll post and overview and my predictions for the History category early next week.
I’m usual curious about anything historical, but I’m afraid I didn’t finish 1812: The Navy’s War. I’ve probably only reached as far as I did (about five of the almost 19 hours) because of Marc Vietor’s narration.
The book was clearly well researched by a naval historian in love with his field of expertise, and I’m sure anything of importance about America’s first great naval war was there, but my attention wandered off once too many times. There were almost none of the personal histories that I so love in historical non-fiction, Daughan focusing instead on political and military macro-strategies.
It also included extremely detailed descriptions of ship-to-ship combat, which lost me after the first couple of starboard broadside descriptions and lists of the sails which were up during a particular battle.
These are the kind of details I really try to understand in the Aubrey/Maturin series – I look at maps and boat diagrams, Google strange naval words – but I just wasn’t as invested in 1812, so got lazy and then disinterested.
It’s also a book clearly written by an American for an American audience. Not only because it’s a given the reader has heard of certain people, political processes or historical events, but also because of the patriotism the book exalts. The blurb reflects really well the tone found inside:
In 1812: The Navy’s War, prizewinning historian George C. Daughan tells the thrilling story of how a handful of heroic captains and their stalwart crews overcame spectacular odds to lead the country to victory against the world’s greatest imperial power.
In short, not my cuppa, but I wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to a naval history buff or an America history buff with a thing for naval detail.
Regarding the narration (at least the part I’ve actually heard), it must have been an easy book to read – no foreign names or languages, only a quote here and there with no strange accents – but Vietor nailed it without flaw. His voice fitted perfectly with the book because it has a certain… manly low pitch (here’s a sample, notice especially the end of sentences).
Next stop, another book about American History: 1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart, narrated by Jonathan Davis.