Book Review by
The Journal of America’s Military Past

Reviewed by Richard V. Barbuto
Winter 2011, Whole Number 115


Book Review by
Erie Times-News

Reviewed by DAN MOREY
Erie, Pennsylvania
Sunday, March 28, 2010


Book Review by
The Herald

Sharon, Pennsylvania
Sunday, March 14, 2010


Book Review by
Portland Press Herald

Portland, ME
Sunday, February 28, 2010


Book Review by
The Toronto Star

Reviewed by HANS WERNER
The Toronto Star
Sunday, July 26, 2009


Book Review by
The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Saturday, July 25, 2009


Book Review by
The Windsor Star

The Windsor Star
Saturday, July 11, 2009


Book Review by
The Stoney Creek News

The Stoney Creek News

Friday, June 29, 2009


Book Review by
The Hamilton Spectator

Reviewed by GORD McNULTY
The Hamilton Spectator
Saturday, June 6, 2009


Book Review by
Hamilton Magazine

Reviewed by David Young
Hamilton Magazine
Winter 2009



As It Happens

CBC Radio, August 17, 2010 – 7:02 min
Click below to listen to James Elliott being interviewed on CBC Radio’s, "As It Happens"


Strange Fatality Wins Arts Hamilton Book Award

November 18, 2010

Arts HamiltonJames Elliott’s acclaimed War of 1812 book, Strange Fatality, has won the non-fiction book prize in the 17th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards. The award was made November 15 by Arts Hamilton in a gala ceremony at Theatre Aquarius attended by more than 100 writers and celebrities. The category judge wrote "I found this to be a remarkable book. The reader is thrown into the action, so much so that when one reads ‘The entire action, from the first alarm to the last parting shot had lasted no more than an hour’, it is a shock. Elliott takes the reader onto the land or lake, only coming out of the narrative long enough to fill in context, but holding the outcomes with the skill of a seasoned dramatist."

Elliott’s study of the Battle of Stoney Creek has been widely praised on both sides of the border for showing how an obscure, largely-forgotten action in June 1813 changed the course of the war and quite likely saved the future province of Ontario.

A Hamilton-based journalist and writer, Elliott spent more than five years researching and writing the book. His revelations on the neglect of soldiers’ remains on the battlefield were instrumental in convincing municipal politicians to approve a major recovery and reinterrment project set for next year. Published by Robin Brass Studio in Montreal, Strange Fatality is now in its third printing.

Arts Hamilton

James Elliott, who won the 2010 non-fiction award for Strange Fatality, with fellow winners at the 17th annual Arts Hamilton Literary Awards. From left, David Cohen, short article non-fiction, Dr. Ross Pennie, fiction book, Chris Pannell, poetry book, and James Elliott.

Other Reviews & Praise

"A masterful job of analyzing the evidence and constructing the most probable sequence of events. Engaging, balanced and laced with numerous first-hand accounts." 

~ Richard V. Barbuto, Journal of America’s Military Past. Winter, 2011

"Elliott relates the details of this little-knownbut thrilling nighttime clash with the panache of a good novelist.  Strange Fatality is history, to be sure, but it’s also a page turner." 

~ Dan Morley, Erie Times News, 28 March, 2010

"Detailed battle accounts are notoriouslydifficult to write.  Elliott is thorough, accurate, evenhanded and vivid. Strange Fatality reads like a novel … good, gory, realistic stuff which accurately depicts the most unpopular conflict in U.S. history before Vietnam."

~ William David Barry, Portland Press Herald

"Elliott has succeeded marvellously, in turning a military history into a real cliff-hanger."

~ Hans Werner, The Toronto Star

"An exciting story …  unknown to most Americans —
one skirmish in 1813 kept the Canadians from becoming Yanks."

~ Len Barcousky, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"A nail-biting, flesh-and-blood showdown that feels like it took place last week. In almost any other country, this would be a movie and a prominent piece of the national mythology."

~ Gord Henderson, The Windsor Star

"A gripping account of an important battle that separates the real soldiers from the poseurs …
sparkles with wit and observation."

~ Geoff Heinricks, The Globe and Mail

"45 minutes of confusion and terror can changethe face of a campaign. 
An excellent job … a good read!"

~ Harold Youmans, Journal of the War of 1812

"One can smell the gun smoke and feel the fear"

~Chris Raible, The OHS Bulletin

"For anyone whose eyes glazed upon hearing the battle recounted in public school, the dramatic tapestry of the chaotic, almost suicidal night attack will seem like an electric shock. An exquisitely detailed yarn that never drags or descends into academic torpor. Highly recommended. "

~ David Young, Hamilton Magazine

"Provocative … Stirring … intensely detailed, carefully documented and well-illustrated."

~ Robin Wylie, Ontario History

"A compelling account … that takes the reader through the actions of real-life characters and
a meticulous marshalling of facts."

~ Michael-Allan Marion, The Brantford Expositor

"A terrifying tale… a must read."

~ Annette Hamm, CHCH TV

"A ripping good yarn, engagingly written and well researched."

~ John C. Fredriksen, American War of 1812 scholar

"Explains how much we have to learn about this conflict that defined Canada. Well-researched and full of illustrations."

~ J. L. Granatstein, Legion Magazine

"Exhaustive primary research, a master story-teller’s turn of phrase and a reporter’s nose for
human interest and quest for truth."

~Michael McAllister, The Fife and Drum

"Well-researched and entertaining"

~Mike Filey, The Toronto Sun

"A tale of courage and incompetence … about a little-known battle that changed the course of the war. A superb job of integrating contemporary sources into a fascinating narrative."

~ Robert Burnham, The War of 1812 Magazine

"One of the great Canadian history books everwritten, in my humble opinion and I read a lot of history."

~ Bob Bratina, CHML

"An exceptional book … impressive research and writing. … meticulous and well-illustrated.
His portrayals of the human dimensions of the struggle and its aftermath are gripping."

~ Gord McNulty, The Hamilton Spectator

"An excellent job. Brisk and engaging. Enjoyable for casual readers of military history and useful to scholars."

~ The Beaver

"Impressive research and comprehensive writing, an accurate, telling glimpse of the past,
Strange Fatality is a must-read for any Canadian history buff"

~ Jackie Vandinther, Cable 14, Hamilton

"A tremendous book…a great tale of something that happened right here."

~ Mike Nabuurs, 820 CHAM

"A must-read for anyone interested in history."

~ Paul Hutchings, Stoney Creek News

"A crucial turning point in Canadian history. The first full study of the Battle of Stoney Creek
and definitely overdue. The amount of information it contains is simply mind-boggling."

~ Cheryl MacDonald, Simcoe Reformer

"Sheds light on a battle too often misunderstood … had [it] turned out differently the Stars and
Stripes might now be adorning flagpoles throughout southwestern Ontario."

~ Don Glynn, The Niagara Gazette

“Stirringand detailed narrative…one of the best-written books on the War of 1812.”

~Bill Gay, Essex Free Press, 31 March 2010

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.:: Strange Fatality ::.
The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813 - by James E. Elliott
ISBN 978-1-896941-58-5

© 2010 James E. Elliott

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