Isaac Brock was the British general responsible for the long frontier of Upper Canada with meagre forces in the opening days of the War of 1812 with the USA. Revered as the “Saviour of Upper Canada” and commemorated by a towering monument on Queenston Heights, Brock is best known in Canada for his vigorous measures to defend against the invading American forces and tor the daring exploit at Queenston Heights in which he died. Brock was a resourceful field commander who believed in offensive measures to keep his opponent off-balance, and he is best known in the United States for managing to cow US General William Hull in to surrendering Detroit, to that general’s eternal shame.
Jonathon Riley describes Brock’s upbringing in the Channel Islands, his family life and his military career in Europe and the West Indies, including service at Den Helder and Copenhagen in the war with France. He covers in detail how Brock prepared Britain’s Canadian provinces for the impending conflict, how he formed an alliance with the great native leader Tecumseh and the events of the stunning capture of Detroit. But why did the general in command of British forces in Upper Canada die doing the job of a captain? This is the question the author poses as he analyses Brock’s actions at Queenston Heights, which cost him his life but from which he emerged as a major historical figure.
Jonathon Riley’s book is not only a fine biography of General Sir Isaac Brock but also a study in generalship by an experienced general.