• Wed Jun 13 2012

Pierre Berton brought 1812 war to life

War of 1812

Almost 200 years ago on June 18, 1812, the United States of America declared war on Great Britain, resulting in the invasion of Canada and a conflict that lasted two and a half years. Canadians and Americans will commemorate this event with re-enactments, fireworks, period costumes and much more. The bicentennial will be history lessons that are a lot of fun for students of all ages.

But as we remember the war, we might also pause to remember why there is so much excitement about it. I think a big reason is Pierre Berton. His books The Invasion of Canada (1980) and Flames Across the Border (1981), brought to life this remote and unappreciated episode in the histories of both countries. Before these books were published, the War of 1812 was an unknown, an historical abyss. Without Berton, the upcoming bicentennial could never approach the excitement and interest I expect will be generated over the next several months.

Robert Higgins, Hamilton

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