This is among the top five history books I have ever read, and I like to read history. It has ample background to the battle without killing the reader with WAY too much information like so many history books. It almost read like an action novel. In fact, by the time I got to the battle I couldn't put it down! Like most Americans all I knew about the Battle of New Orleans was the old Johnny Horton song where the British ran off after being fired on a couple of times. I never had thought about the fact that the British soldiers were the survivors and victors over the Republican Army of Napoleon. They had beaten the best army in the world! In Louisiana they were facing a ragtag mix of frontiersmen, riverboat men, dock workers, prisoners, and even pirates. There is only one reason they were not demolished by the Brits--Andrew Jackson. Since I learned about the Trail of Tears I have never liked the man. He was a man of his times and had many flaws. After reading this book my opinion has changed completely. I still don't really like him, but I don't think there is a man on this earth that could have accomplished what he did in preparation and execution of this final chapter in the war. He was sick, had old wounds that troubled him, was hampered by lack of funding and had almost no trained soldiers to rely on. He accomplished the impossible, and with that he has my undying admiration and respect. He truly earned his nickname "Old Hickory." He was perhaps the best natural military leader in the history of this nation.