Newspaperman Tully has done a good job of ""covering"" the major phases of the War of 1812, centering on the burning of Washington by the British. While he has little good to say of President Madison's ability to choose competent defense leaders, he hardly contradicts the history books on that account. His chapter on the writing of the national anthem is the high point, full of warmth and admiration for the young, vigorous country. The establishment of the District of Columbia and the fight to preserve it as the nation's capital are spirited stories that bring out the best of Tully's somewhat limited literary talents. The patriotic sentiments he awakens are well-timed at this quadrennial season of the changing of the guard; they may be what will save his latest offering from drowning in the current flood of books about that Other war.