As someone with an interest in naval history I have read both fiction and non fiction works about the various sea battles of the War of 1812 and of the naval campaigns on the Great Lakes. However whilst I was aware that there was fighting on the Canadian border, that the British invaded and burnt Washington and there was a battle for New Orleans I had not read a work that covered the whole war and put the various battles on land and sea both in a chronological order and within the political and strategic aims of both sides.
Without drowning me in too much detail, When Washington Burned by Arnold Blumberg proved to be an excellent overview of the reasons both sides had to go to war and then ultimately seek to end what was really a pointless conflict. The battle information included brief histories of the commanding officers involved, the units involved, main manoeuvres and casualties all accompanied by plenty of contemporary illustrations and some maps.
If you want to put the war at sea into context with the land engagements this is a good book to start with.
Description of: When Washington Burned
Author: Arnold Blumberg