In this engrossing narrative of the great military conflagration of the mid-eighteenth century, Fred Anderson transports us into the maelstrom of international rivalries. With the Seven Years' War, Great Britain decisively eliminated French power north of the Caribbean — and in the process destroyed an American diplomatic system in which Native Americans had long played a central, balancing role — permanently changing the political and cultural landscape of North America.
Anderson skillfully reveals the clash of inherited perceptions the war created when it gave thousands of American colonists their first experience of real Englishmen and introduced them to the British cultural and class system. We see colonists who assumed that they were partners in the empire encountering British officers who regarded them as subordinates and who treated them accordingly. This laid the groundwork in shared experience for a common view of the world, of the empire, and of the men who had once been their masters. Thus, Anderson shows, the war taught George Washington and other provincials profound emotional lessons, as well as giving them practical instruction in how to be soldiers.
Depicting the subsequent British efforts to reform the empire and American resistance — the riots of the Stamp Act crisis and the nearly simultaneous pan-Indian insurrection called Pontiac's Rebellion — as postwar developments rather than as an anticipation of the national independence that no one knew lay ahead (or even desired), Anderson re-creates the perspectives through which contemporaries saw events unfold while they tried to preserve imperial relationships.
Interweaving stories of kings and imperial officers with those of Indians, traders, and the diverse colonial peoples, Anderson brings alive a chapter of our history that was shaped as much by individual choices and actions as by social, economic, and political forces.
From 1756 to 1763, the Ohio Valley was the site of a historic contest between the French and the English, both of whom wanted to add this fertile soil to their colonial holdings. In this elegant new account of the Seven Years' War, University of Colorado historian Anderson demonstrates that the conflict was more than just a peripheral squabble that anticipated the American Revolution. Not only did the war decisively alter relations among the French, the English and the Native American allies of the two powers, who for decades had played the English and French off one another to their own advantage, but just as critical, argues Anderson, the war also changed the character of British imperialism, with the mother country trying to reshape the terms of empire and the colonists' place in it. (It was the British victory of 1763, for example, that led the British to post a permanent, peacetime army in America and to support those troops with new taxes.) Indeed, Anderson shows that familiar events of the mid-1760s, like the Stamp Act and Tea Act crises, are better understood as postwar rather than prewar events: they did not "reflect a movement toward revolution so much as an effort to define the imperial relationship." This volume, then, will be of interest not just to Seven Years' War buffs, but also to those interested in the entire Revolutionary era. Anderson's magisterial study--like his earlier book, A People's Army--is essential reading on an often ignored war. 90 illus. and 9 maps.
Essential, brilliant history
Finest single volume history of the seven years war (that's the French and Indian War so far as we, on this side of the thing, are concerned). Without question. Quite comprehensive, engagingly written and all informed by the trenchant insight and vast learning of one of the unquestionably greatest scholars of the period.
One of the specific greatnesses of the text, for North Americans, is that Anderson sets it squarely in the midst of the much larger world war between the European powers (primarily, though not at all exclusively, Britain and France), tracing it back to its roots in the Hundred Years War and analyzing its impact on events to come-our own Revolution, for example,& France's decisive role in it, cannot be rightly understood without a commensurate understanding of the period and events covered here. I've read it three times, refer back to it fairly often, and would be deeply grateful if SOMEBODY WOULD PLEASE RECORD AN UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK VERSION.