January 27, 2013

History author looks at leaders of War of 1812


“I’ve got a library like you wouldn’t believe,” he said of the volumes of materials he collected during his research. “I did a lot of research in England; a lot of the stories I picked up through Englishman who had ancestors who fought in the war. I was able to build a complete character of these men.”

For instance, Fitz-Enz was able to paint a much broader image of Andrew Jackson, whose negative reputation may have outlived any of his accomplishments.

“He was a prisoner of war during the Revolutionary War,” Fitz-Enz related. “He was slashed on the forehead by a British officer; the wound healed, but what was inside (Jackson) never did.

“By telling the story of the individual as a child and young adult, I was able to show how he got to become a military man.”

Fitz-Enz chose his title to represent the varied personalities of the military leaders he examined. Some were true heroes, but others were hacks and sycophants, or self-seeking flatterers.

“Wilkinson was the worst of the worst of the worst,” Fitz-Enz said of the man who highlights his final chapter. “It’s written of him that he never won a battle and never lost a court martial. He was everything but a hero.”

Fitz-Enz called Battle of Plattsburgh naval Cmdr. Thomas Macdonough a true hero who has passed the test of time and remains one of the premier leaders of the war.

Brig. Gen. Alexander Macomb, who commanded the land forces during the Battle of Plattsburgh, was an able commander but had some shaky experiences leading to his success during the War of 1812, Fitz-Enz noted.

Fitz-Enz has also written an account of the Battle of Plattsburgh called “The Final Invasion,” as well as an alternative history of the war titled “Redcoats’ Revenge.” He also wrote about the U.S.S. Constitution in “Old Ironsides: Eagle of the Sea” and chronicled his own experiences in the military in “Why A Soldier?”

He is now working on a spy thriller focusing on World War I and World War II.

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"Hacks, Sycophants, Adventures, & Heroes," by Col. David Fitz-Enz, is published through Taylor Trade Publishing and can be purchased at and other online sources.

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