Prizewinning historian George C. Daughan will sign copies of his latest book, “1812: The Navy’s War,” Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Owl & Turtle Bookshop, 32 Washington St.

At the outbreak of the War of 1812, America’s prospects looked dismal. It was clear that the primary battlefield would be the open ocean—but America’s war fleet, only 20 ships strong, faced a practiced British navy of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, the American navy managed to take the fight to the British and turn the tide of the war on the Great Lakes, in the Atlantic, and even in the eastern Pacific.

Daughan tells the thrilling story of how a handful of heroic captains and their stalwart crews overcame spectacular odds to lead the country to victory against the world’s greatest imperial power. A major contribution to military and national history, “1812: The Navy’s War” is the first complete account in more than a century of how the Unites States Navy rescued the fledgling nation and secured America’s future.

Daughan holds a doctorate in American history and government from Harvard University. He spent three years in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, taught at the Air Force Academy and was also director of the MA program of international affairs there. Subsequently, he held a professorship at Connecticut College and also taught at Wesleyan University and the universities of Colorado and New Hampshire. His previous book, “If By Sea: The Forging of the American Navy — From the Revolution to the War of 1812,” won the 2008 Samuel Eliot Morison Award. The Portland author will be signing both books.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.