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Historical-Novel Author Comes to Clifton Sunday

— The Clifton Café will host the signing of a new historical novel, “Madness: The War of 1812,” by Dennis Byrne — father of Clifton Betterment Association member Don Byrne — this Sunday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m.-noon. The Clifton Café is at 7144 Main St. in the Town of Clifton.

The novel, which depicts such local events as the burning of Washington and an Alexandria slave market, is the story of a young Irish immigrant junior army officer who struggles to cope with one costly and disheartening American defeat after another, until it becomes a question not just of his survival, but also America’s.

The War of 1812, in which the United States unwisely declared war on the world’s mightiest empire — Great Britain — and invaded Canada may have been America’s most ill-conceived, most-bungled, least-remembered, least-understood, yet most-important war in the nation’s early history. A loss would have discredited the newly emerging idea of democracy and self-government.

Byrne is a seasoned journalist and writer based in Chicago, where a lifetime of observing the political antics there prepared him for the unbelievable folly he discovered in the study of the War of 1812. He’ll be in Clifton this Sunday to discuss and sign his book. There’ll be a free cup of coffee for the first 50 customers who buy a book.