Montcalm and Wolfe: The Riveting Story of the Heroes of the French & Indian War (A Modern Library E-Book)

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The result of over forty years of passionate research, Montcalm and Wolfe is the epic story of Europe's struggle for dominance of the New World. Centuries of rivalry and greed between the great imperial powers culminated in five brutal years of war; resulted in the death of both generals, Louis de Montcalm and James Wolfe; and ultimately sowed the seeds of the American Revolution, fought a scant seventeen years later. A brilliant work of scholarship as well as a riveting read, Montcalm and Wolfe was thought by many, including the author, to be Parkman's greatest work. It is an essential part of any military history collection. The books in the Modern Library War series have been chosen by series
editor Caleb Carr according to the significance of their subject matter, their contribution to the field of military history, and their literary merit.
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About the author

Francis Parkman, whose epic seven-volume study, France and England in North America, established him as one of this country's greatest historians, was born in Boston on September 16, 1823. His father was a prominent minister and the son of a wealthy merchant; his mother was descended from Reverend John Cotton, the famous New England Congregationalist. Frail health compelled Parkman to spend his early childhood on a farm in neighboring Medford, where he came to love outdoor life. After attending the Chauncy Hall School in Boston he entered Harvard in 1840. Under the influence of Jared Sparks, the college's first professor of modern history, the eighteen-year-old sophomore initially envisioned his monumental account of the conquest of North America. 'My theme fascinated me, and I was haunted with wilderness images day and night,' recalled Parkman, who visited many of the battlefields of the French and Indian Wars during summer holidays. Though illness forced him to temporarily abandon his studies, he earned an undergraduate degree in 1844, with highest honors in history as well as election to Phi Beta Kappa, and completed Harvard Law School two years later.

In the spring of 1846 Parkman set out with his cousin Quincy Adams Shaw on a strenuous five-month expedition to the Far West. Shortly after returning to Boston he suffered a complete nervous and physical collapse and remained a partial invalid for the remainder of his life. While recuperating he dictated The California and Oregon Trail (1849), a gripping account of his wilderness adventures. Subsequently reissued as The Oregon Trail, the perennially popular travelogue was praised by Herman Melville and later hailed by Bernard DeVoto as 'one of the exuberant masterpieces of American literature.' Still battling severe headaches and partial blindness, Parkman finished History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac (1851), a prelude to his epic lifework. Over the next decade recurring neurological problems impeded progress on France and England in North America, but he managed to write Vassall Morton (1856), a semiautobiographical novel, and The Book of Roses (1866), a study of horticulture.

Pioneers of France in the New World, the first volume of Parkman's monumental account of the struggle between England and France for dominance of North America, was published in 1865. 'Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts,' wrote Parkman in his Preface to Pioneers. 'The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time.' He expanded his dramatic 'history of the American forest' with The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century (1867), The Discovery of the Great West (1869), The Old Régime in Canada (1874), and Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV (1877). 'Like fellow historians of the Romantic school, Parkman believed that the re-creation of the past demanded imaginative and literary art,' observed historian C. Vann Woodward. 'He looked to such writers as Sir Walter Scott, James Fenimore Cooper and Lord Byron more than to historians for inspiration in his narrative style.'

Fearing he might not live to complete his vast work, Parkman next wrote Montcalm and Wolfe (1884), the climactic final volume of France and England in North America. 'I suppose that every American who cares at all for the history of his own country feels a certain personal pride in your work,' Theodore Roosevelt wrote Parkman. Henry Adams said Montcalm and Wolfe put Parkman 'in the front rank of living English historians,' and Henry James called it 'truly a noble book [that] has fascinated me from the first page to the last.' Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., stated: 'Montcalm and Wolfe--the tale of how half the continent changed hands on the Plains of Abraham before Quebec--is romantic history at its most vivid and compelling.' A Half-Century of Conflict, the sixth volume in the series, appeared in 1892, a year before Francis Parkman's death in Boston on November 8, 1893. Two works culled from his papers were published posthumously: The Journals of Francis Parkman (1947) and Letters of Francis Parkman (1960).

'In the tradition of Gibbon and Prescott, Parkman's achievement was seeing the human and the personal in the great movements of history,' wrote Daniel J. Boorstin. 'Just as Gibbon had been engaged by the spectacle of Roman grandeur in decline, and Prescott by a new Spanish empire in creation, Parkman was entranced by the wilderness struggles of France and England in North America in the making of a new freer world.' And Edmund Wilson observed: 'The genius of Parkman is shown not only in his disciplined, dynamic prose but in his avoidance of generalizations, his economizing of abstract analysis, his sticking to concrete events. Each incident, each episode is different, each is particularized, each is presented, when possible, in sharply realistic detail, no matter how absurd or how homely, in terms of its human participants, its local background, and its seasonal conditions. . . . He had a special sensitivity to landscape and terrain, a kind of genius unequalled, so far as I know, on the part of any other important historian, without which such a story could hardly have been told. . . . The clarity, the momentum, and the color of the first volumes of Parkman's narrative are among the most brilliant achievements of the writing of history as an art.'
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Additional Information

Publisher
Modern Library
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Published on
Nov 1, 2000
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9780679641735
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Strategy
History / Military / United States
History / United States / Colonial Period (1600-1775)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Fred Anderson
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.
Ian K. Steele
On the morning of August 9, 1757, British and colonial officers defending the besieged Fort William Henry surrendered to French forces, accepting the generous "parole of honor" offered by General Montcalm. As the column of British and colonials marched with their families and servants to Fort Edward some miles south, they were set upon by the Indian allies of the French. The resulting "massacre," thought to be one of the bloodiest days of the French and Indian War, became forever ingrained in American myth by James Fenimore Cooper's classic novel The Last of the Mohicans. In Betrayals, historian Ian K. Steele gives us the true story behind Cooper's famous book, bringing to life men such as British commander of Fort William Henry George Monro, English General Webb, his French counterpart Montcalm, and the wild frontier world of Natty Bumppo. The Battle of Lake George and the building of the fort marked the return of European military involvement in intercolonial wars, producing an explosive mixture of the contending martial values of Indians, colonials, and European regulars. The Americans and British who were attacked after surrendering, as well as French officers and their Indian allies (the latter enraged by the small amount of English booty allowed them by the French), all felt deeply betrayed. Contemporary accounts of the victims--whose identities Steele has carefully reconstructed from newly discovered sources--helped to create a powerful, racist American folk memory that still resonates today. Survivors included men and women who were adopted into Indian tribes, sold to Canadians in a well-established white servant trade, or jailed in Canada or France as prisoners of war. Explaining the motives for the most notorious massacre of the colonial period, Steele offers a gripping tale of a fledgling America, one which places the tragic events of the Seven Years' War in a fresh historical context. Anyone interested in the fact behind the fiction will find it fascinating reading.
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