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Border Crossings: The Detroit River Region in the War of 1812

This riveting essay collection explores the changing political allegiances and sweeping human narratives that shaped the Detroit River region in the War of 1812. For more than a generation, American citizens, British subjects, French settlers, Native Americans and African slaves and freedom routinely crossed the border while living and working together in one of the most diverse regions in North America. That tranquility ended suddenly with the War of 1812.

The result of a year-long community history project by the Detroit Historical Society and Wayne State University, Border Crossings uncovers the personal and group interactions often ignored in standard histories of the War of 1812. As the Detroit River region shifted between American and British control, "border crossings" had profound new implications for its diverse inhabitants, including widespread privation, imprisonment, enemy attacks, and dispossession of homes and land. Ultimately, this ugly conflict produced a surprising outcome: The War of 1812 molded a region, divided between two nations, that today hosts the busiest crossing of the longest peaceful border in the world.

Denver Brunsman is an assistant professor of history at The George Washington University.

Joel Stone is the senior curator at the Detroit Historical Society.

Douglas D. Fisher is a managing editor at Crain Communications Inc. in Detroit.

Author: Denver Brunsman, Joel Stone, Douglas Fisher

Edited by: Denver Brunsman, Joel Stone, Douglas D. Fisher

Page count: 302

Physical dimensions: 8 × 5.5 × 1 in

Physical weight: 1 lb