Cambridge University history professor, Nicholas Guyatt talks about the capture of more than 6,500 American sailors during the War of 1812 and their ordeals while incarcerated at Dartmoor Prison in southwest England. Building on the work of naval historian Ira Dye, Guyatt discusses among other issues, the debate between America’s Founders over whether the United States even needed a navy, the different routes through which the captured sailors arrived at the prison, how they forged a sense of community despite the terrible circumstances of their confinement, and how they kept their prison experience alive for decades after the infamous Dartmoor Massacre of 1815.
About the Speaker: Nicholas Guyatt is Professor of North American History at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of six books, including Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation and The Hated Cage: An American Tragedy in Britain’s Most Terrifying Prison. He’s written about American history for the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Nation, the Guardian, and the London Review of Books. He has held many fellowships, including at the International Center for Jefferson Studies, Charlottesville.