Bet the War of 1812 wasn’t in your top 5.
Heck, I teach History and, at best, I gloss over it so I can hurry up and get to the Civil War. College Humor did a pretty solid round up of most American’s understanding of the War of 1812 with the following trailer:
Renegade Press is out to set the record straight. The Loxley’s and the War of 1812 explores the oft overlooked war from the perspective of one Canadian family “living in the Niagara peninsula as they’re torn apart by the American invasion of Canada in 1812, and the subsequent war that raged across both countries as British troops, Canadian militia, and First Nation warriors sought to thwart the expansionist plans of the American government. The story follows the characters through key historical events as they deal with the realities of war on their doorstep, the personal loss, setbacks and victories tied into the conflict.”
Honestly, the first thing I had to wrap my brain around as I read the book is that the Americans were not the good guys! I have grown up in America with America always being “right”. Sure, we took the land away from the Native Americans, and that was bad, but all the wars we fought with other countries? Those were good! However, from the perspective of the Canadians and Native Americans allied with them, the Americans were cruel, vicious, and greedy land-grabbers who would stop at nothing in their quest for territory to conquer. As “shocking” as that was, I have always known that history is rarely as neat and tidy as it is taught in our textbooks. It was just the first time I had seen it depicted this way in a comic book!
That is where the real strength of the book lies. This would make a perfect supplement in a classroom. The facts about battles are often one-sided and, in the case of US History, tend to overlook or gloss over some of the more controversial pieces in favor of a “big picture” that shows America striding towards a grand destiny. This would offer a different perspective, especially since the events of the book are factually accurate.
Far from being a dry text book, The Loxley’s and the War of 1812 intersperses the major battles of the northern part of the war with the daily hardships of frontier life. The Loxley’s are a believable family that are easy to care about and add a human face to the inhumanity of war. The reader is given the opportunity to see what it is like for the men who go off to war, as well as for the women and children who are left behind. Niether group had an easy time of it, and neither group is the same after. Unfortunately the same can be said about real families in real was as well.
The back third of the book is filled with important information about the War of 1812. It is written in an academic enough manner that it can be believed and taken seriously, but is still interesting and accessible enough that it can be enjoyed by students. This book would be a great tool for a reluctant history student.
The art by Claude St Aubin and the story by Alan Grant are perfectly suited for kids from about 4th grade on up. This would be a great book for anyone with a young history buff in their lives. Parents and librarians take note: the book will be available in June, 2012 for $19.99. Retailers take note, Renegade is offering one free copy for every three ordered.