Bickham did some impressive work in attempting to tell the story of the War of 1812 from the American, British, and Canadian perspectives, and this work is interesting in that it looks at the political, economic, and public opinion aspects of the war. Bickham places the conflict in a global context, arguing that it's difficult to understand the reasons behind the conflict without looking at the Napoleonic Wars and the impact those were having on Europe. So, in short, the book covers some interesting ground, and provides a fresh way of examining this war.
Unfortunately, the writing is so dry, there were times I felt like I was reading a term paper. The author didn't breathe any life into any of the people who played roles in this conflict, and he did not really do a bang up job of painting the picture of domestic American politics of the time. Good thing I recently read A Leap in the Dark, by John Ferling, which is an excellent book, by the way, otherwise I don't think I'd have understood the pressures that confronted Madison at this time, and would not have understood how the heck a president could possibly have deemed this war a good idea.
Look, it's a decent book, and people who have interest in this conflict would not go astray if they gave this book a read. I did learn some things--I just fell asleep reading this book more frequently than I kept my eyes open for it, so I can't honestly say I found this book to be enjoyable.