This valuable tome tells the interesting story of the arms race of the War of 1812. Gallant naval feats are few here, and there are mismanaged operations and no showdown fights. There is, though, a very interesting story to tell. Well-researched and better written, the author has chosen a topic that is seldom talked or written about and that is a valuable addition to the literature of the little-known War of 1812.
The story of the 'naval war' on Lake Ontario is a strange one. The British commander, Sir James Yeo, built an excellent fleet, and never really sought decisive action against his foe, American Isaac Chauney, who more than obliged him, apparently believing that to save his hard-built fleet was more important than hunting down and destroying his enemy, in the words of the immortal John Paul Jones, seeking a fast ship (or ships) and going 'in harm's way.'
In cold fact, Yeo didn't have to. By denying the Americans the control of Lake Ontario, he accomplished his mission. By not seeking decisive combat, Chauncey denied his country a strategic advantage, at the same time starving his very competent and aggressive subordinate, Oliver Perry on Lake Erie, experienced seamen and assets to build an overwhelming superiority on that other lake, which didn't stop him from winning the decisive victory at Put-in-Bay. It would have been interesting to see Perry command on Ontario against Yeo afterwards.
This book is highly recommended and belongs on every history buff's bookshelf, whether or not he or she is a War of 1812 enthusiast. It is another piece of the puzzle that is American militiary history.