The Astonishing General


Winner of the 2011 OHS Donald Grant Creighton Award

This book is about Major General Sir Isaac Brock (1769 - October 13, 1812). It tells of his life, his career and legacy, particularly in the Canadas, and of the context within which he lived. One of the most enduring legacies of the War of 1812 on both the United States and Canadian sides was the creation of heroes and heroines. The earliest of those heroic individuals was Isaac Brock who in some ways was the most unlikely of heroes. For one thing, he was admired by his American foes almost as much as by his own people. Even more striking is how a British general whose military role in that two-and-a-half-year war lasted less than five months became the best known hero and one revered far and wide. Wesley B. Turner finds this outcome astonishing and approaches the subject from that point of view.


Dewey Divas and the Dudes
OHS Donald Grant Creighton Award


"Just in time for Canada Day weekend comes this thorough account of the life of the hero of the War of 1812."

The Globe and Mail (July, 2011)

"With the approaching 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 this biography is a timely account of the life of the most celebrated participant in that conflict on the Canadian side."

The Winnipeg Free Press (July, 2011)

"Turner brings decades of scholarship to The Astonishing General and the result is a nuanced appraisal of Brocks experiences in Upper and Lower Canada, his military success and his fatal failure at the Battle of Queenston Heights."

The Waterloo Region Record (August, 2011)

With the War of 1812 bicentennial commemorations beginning this year, especially the Battle of Queenston Heights, this book is a delightful way to understand local history.

Escarpment Views magazine (March, 2012)

“Still, that portly man emerges from each book not only as heroic and honourable in equal measure but as totally crush-worthy. Riley and Turner have done the biographer’s job well."

Canada’s History

"[Turner provides] solid analyses of a man whose talents, energy, leadership, and aggression contributed significantly to keeping Upper Canada as one of George III's imperial appendages."

About the Author

Wesley B. Turner

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Wesley B. Turner

Dr. Wesley B. Turner is Associate Professor of History at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. His previous publications include Life in Upper Canada, The War of 1812 in the Niagara Peninsula, The War of 1812: The War for Canada, Album of Upper Canada and contributor of several biographies in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. He was president of the Ontario Historical Society and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the St.