Try our newest plan – access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.95

Buy for $24.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Told from multiple points of view - including those of James and Dolley Madison and a British admiral - this is the true story of the burning of the White House in 1814.

It's unimaginable today, even for a generation that saw the Twin Towers fall and the Pentagon attacked. It's unimaginable because in 1814, enemies didn't fly overhead; they marched through the streets, and for 26 hours in August, the British enemy marched through Washington, DC, and set fire to government buildings, including the US Capitol and the White House.

Relying on firsthand accounts, historian Jane Hampton Cook weaves together several different narratives to create a vivid, multidimensional account of the burning of Washington, including the escalation that led to it and the immediate aftermath. From James and Dolley Madison to the British admiral who ordered the White House set aflame, historical figures are brought to life through their experiences of this unprecedented attack.

The Burning of the White House is the story of a city invaded, a presidential family displaced, a nation humbled, and an American spirit that somehow remained unbroken.

©2016 Jane Hampton Cook (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Burning of the White House

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    33
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

History Buffs Rejoice! This is the real War of 1812.

The War of 1812 is perhaps the least studied, understood and appreciated war in which our Nation has been engaged. By burning the White House and our Capitol to the ground, the arrogant Britsh admirals and generals, who thought the United States could easily be retaken, enraged even Americans who had been ambivalent up to that time. The rest is history, and it is well told, indeed, as if you were there. Nicely woven into this story are the many well researched and documented events and anecdotes about America's 1st First Lady, Dolly Madison, a truly remarkable and courageous woman, and her President husband, to whom she supported and was unwaveringly loyal, even as she was left alone to rescue the irreplaceable treasures of the White House.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Written Like a Children's Book. Boring.

This book reads like it was written for a nine year old girl, should have been titled "Dolly Madison, the Most Nicest Person Ever, and Other Super Swell People!" I don't think the author meant to write it like that, I think she is an amateur and apparently so was her editor. Very weak book, nothing anyone accustomed to reading good history would like. Never should have been published, unless as a children's book. And my gosh she overused the "phoenix" analogy so much it was embarrassing, ugh. Big waste of time.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good book but,

Good book. If you don't have a background on the War of 1812 this book will give it to you.
Story rambles and gets lost sometimes but usually comes back to where it's supposed to be.
Narrator is okay. She tries different voices but the men all sound the same.
I would recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Leaves out essential facts, shallow jinjoism.

I listened this while getting ready to visit Canada. It was one book among many and I luckily had some context before starting this book. It glossed over the fact that the US attacked Canada first. I would returned it if I could.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A decent, if a little narratively jumbled, history

A decent, if a little narratively jumbled, history with some bright spots.

Cook's 2016 "The Burning of the White House" has all the markings of an author that really enjoys her subject(s), has clearly written about them extensively, yet struggles to put it all together in a single volume with a clear narrative/theme.

Here, we get a little bit of everything but not enough to make a consistent work. Ostensibly it's about the war of 1812 and "The Burning of the White House" -- so the extended look at British Admiral George Cockburn -- the man that actually directed the firing of the White House is particularly interesting and Cook does a great job with sources taking us into the White House as British troops piled high the wooden furniture before setting it ablaze. So, as a mini-bio of Cockburn, this is excellent.

Obviously as the torching of the WH involves Dolly Madison's efforts to secure/save items of historical import, her role is also featured prominently and Cook does a great job of giving character and color to an already colorful character. As a mini-bio of Dolly Madison, it is also excellent. We also get a lovely little extended section on the Siege of Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key's writing of the Star Spangled Banner. Where Cook focuses on James Madison, however, it feels like padding as we get largely unnecessary sections on the Constitutional Convention, the Virginia Plan, etc.

And that's the major downside to "The Burning of the White House" -- it's not really consistent. Cook's author's note/introduction indicates that she's written on all of these topics (Dolly, James, Cockburn, Key) separately. But, a 350-page book is different than seven 50-page monographs somewhat sporadically spliced together. That's the overall effect of "Burning" -- the sense that the reader is getting "Section 2.X" from one paper/article immediately followed by Section 7.Y from another paper/article.

While there are definite bright spots, "The Burning of the White House" is a little too disconnected in its narrative focus.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Drags

The narrative drags. I was waiting for some narrative tension, but none came. I finally threw in the towel part way through.

The focus is mainly on Mrs. Madison, who apparently was a very lively, charismatic woman. Her husband, the President, is portrayed as a human sleeping pill. And he put me to sleep.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too much Dolley Madison not enough Burning.

I wanted to like this book. I feel like my knowledge of the War of 1812 is lacking and thought this might help. But I could only get through about 1/3 of the book, which seemed to be a very long love letter to Dolley Madison. I did enjoy the parts about the way but they were few and far between. I seldom give up on books but I just had to.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for C. Woollacott
  • C. Woollacott
  • 12-13-21

Propaganda piece

What could have been an interesting book is a wasted opportunity. Seems to be written as a right wing propaganda piece. Such a pity.

The British commander is cast as the villain. There is much bizarre supposition about him smiling as people are killed. This kind of thing sits I'll at ease with the actual historical facts which are presented. Why lower what could be an excellent book with such blatant political bias?

In short the US forces are good and the British are bad.