The War of 1812 is sometimes referred to as 'America's Forgotten War' but that has changed somewhat because not only of the 100th Anniversary of that war in 2015 but also because of the excellent historiography that has been published somewhat recently.
The war was caused by Britain's high-handed treatment of neutral nations, such as Denmark and then the United States, and war was declared in June 1812 because of those maritime issues.
It was an ill-conceived war, the young United States declaring war against the premier naval power in the world, but the relatively new United States Navy, cobbled by the previous Jefferson administration and without guidance from the national command authority, went to war with its own guidance and gained a momentary superiority over British frigates, brigs, and sloops in single-ship actions that shocked the Royal Navy.
The war on land did not begin so well. Invading Canada, which was not a war aim but the only way to damage Great Britain on land, the tiny US Army, 'reinforced' by unreliable militia came to grief in the land actions. That changed slowly but surely with the emerging US commanders who fought the British army to a standstill in 1814 on the Niagara, at Plattsburg, Baltimore, and New Orleans. The resulting peace treaty, signed at Ghent on Christmas Eve 1814, returned the status to prewar conditions on land.
There are excellent books on the war, one of the best being Robert Quimby's two volume study The US Army in the War of 1812: An Operational and Command Study. Historian Don Graves has written extensively on the war on the Niagara fronties, among other studies, covering the battles of Chippawa and Lundy's Lane and the siege of Fort Erie. He has also published a work on the battle of Chrysler's Farm. The Fort Niagara Association has published numerous monographs, many of them primary source documents, on the war, and John Elting's Amateurs, To Arms! A Military History of the War of 1812 is excellent. Historian Don Hickey has published excellent works on the war, one of the most interesting of them is Don't Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812. Some of the myths dispelled in the book are the motivation for the invasion of Canada by the United States, the causes of the war, the employment of the Canadian militia, and various other subject.
Overall, the study of the War of 1812 is more than interesting. It was fought over vast distances in largely uncharted testimony and while the battles on land were small, especially compared to those in Europe at the time, they were viciously savage combats, one British officer, who had seen service and combat in Europe, thought that Lundy's Lane was the most savage fight he had ever been involved in.
After the first brilliant successes of the American frigates at the beginning of the war, the Royal Navy usually successfully blockaded American ships in their harbors. Some still got out and were mostly successful, especially the sloop USS Wasp, the second of that name in the war. The US Navy was successful in the two 'fleet actions' on the Great Lakes, destroying both British squadrons in hard-fought actions. The officer corps of the US Navy was excellent, having been trained in combat against the Barbary Pirates by an outstanding commander, Commodore Edward Preble. That training and the subsequent performance of the US Navy in the War of 1812 established an excellent reputation that the US Navy maintains to the present day.