Davis seamlessly blends the immediate events and the background to tell history not well known. He includes in this flow of information, for example, the odyssey of the Kentucky reinforcements, the problems with trans-Atlantic communications, and the importance of the artillery ... The annotation and bibliography shows the depth of Davis' research. The author draws the campaign in detail, including the battles on land and sea, as well as the roles of the famous and forgotten.
... a finely researched volume that spotlights the good, bad and ugly of a polyglot army stumbling to war ... A star of Mr. Davis’s show is New Orleans itself. Taking full advantage of the sights, smells and sounds of the Crescent City ... Mr. Davis follows the movements of forces with the disciplined eye of an academic historian. He traces skirmishes in December 1814 down to individual trenches ... The book’s initial pacing is detailed and at times a bit slow; the advance of the two opposing armies to the battlefield unfolds deliberately, and the assembly of forces, early skirmishes and preparatory bombardment run to 232 pages ... When the armies make first contact, the tempo accelerates, and Mr. Davis’s accounts of small fights won by hot blood and cold steel are thrilling ... The battle royale, spanning three chapters, hits like a burst of grapeshot ... The strength of Mr. Davis’s chronicle is its meticulous research and the way it frames the Battle of New Orleans in the context of a vibrant, evolving, occasionally vicious South. Slow in some parts, electric in others, The Greatest Fury is one of the most comprehensive looks at a fight that became a punctuation mark in the tale of Manifest Destiny.
Davis indulges in detail, caught up in the minutiae of who shot whom and the precise circumstances of the battle. Exhaustive endnotes conclude this staunchly traditional military history that gives shorter shrift to geopolitical and cultural context, including the rich, complex relations among blacks, whites, freedmen, Spaniards, creoles, and Anglos in the melting pot of New Orleans ... Extensively researched, tediously old-school military history.
... a prodigious deep dive into Andrew Jackson’s strategy and tactics of the final battle of the War of 1812 ... The most riveting scenes Davis describes focus on the aspects of warfare that have changed little over the centuries: the degradations of bivouacking and dying. There’s a wealth of detail here, but not much context about the larger geopolitical situation; readers will need knowledge of the period to keep up. Early American history enthusiasts, though, will want to take a look.
Davis effectively depicts how Jackson overcame obstacles such as poor health, an ineffective Louisiana legislature, and a bitter feud with the governor to shrewdly build up the city’s defenses, a strategy that proved wise when the anticipated British assault ended in disaster. Throughout the narrative, the author sprinkles intriguing details ... Unfortunately, the author also missteps. Repetitive phrases abound, and the 'rebirth of America' referenced in the subtitle appears in an epilogue, which makes that part of the book feel tacked-on. Most fundamentally, the narrative is clearly aimed toward military enthusiasts and thus occasionally bogs down in descriptions of troop movements, engagements, and armaments. As is his wont, Davis delivers a highly descriptive and prodigiously researched book, but general readers should look elsewhere ... A weighty military history for students and scholars.