Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766

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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.
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About the author

Fred Anderson is Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of A People's Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years' War (1984), as well as many articles, essays, and reviews.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Dec 18, 2007
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Pages
912
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ISBN
9780307425393
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
History / Modern / 18th Century
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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The Seven Years? War was the world?s first global conflict, spanning five continents and the critical sea lanes that connected them. This book is the fullest account ever written of the French navy?s role in the hostilities. It is also the most complete survey of both phases of the war: the French and Indian War in North America (1754?60) and the Seven Years? War in Europe (1756?63), which are almost always treated independently. By considering both phases of the war from every angle, award-winning historian Jonathan R. Dull shows not only that the two conflicts are so interconnected that neither can be fully understood in isolation but also that traditional interpretations of the war are largely inaccurate. His work also reveals how the French navy, supposedly utterly crushed, could have figured so prominently in the War of American Independence only fifteen years later. ø A comprehensive work integrating diplomatic, naval, military, and political history, The French Navy and the Seven Years? War thoroughly explores the French perspective on the Seven Years? War. It also studies British diplomacy and war strategy as well as the roles played by the American colonies, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden, and Portugal. As this history unfolds, it becomes clear that French policy was more consistent, logical, and successful than has previously been acknowledged, and that King Louis XV?s conduct of the war profoundly affected the outcome of America?s subsequent Revolutionary War.
Americans often think of their nation’s history as a movement toward ever-greater democracy, equality, and freedom. Wars in this story are understood both as necessary to defend those values and as exceptions to the rule of peaceful progress. In The Dominion of War, historians Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton boldly reinterpret the development of the United States, arguing instead that war has played a leading role in shaping North America from the sixteenth century to the present.

Anderson and Cayton bring their sweeping narrative to life by structuring it around the lives of eight men—Samuel de Champlain, William Penn, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, and Colin Powell. This approach enables them to describe great events in concrete terms and to illuminate critical connections between often-forgotten imperial conflicts, such as the Seven Years’ War and the Mexican-American War, and better-known events such as the War of Independence and the Civil War. The result is a provocative, highly readable account of the ways in which republic and empire have coexisted in American history as two faces of the same coin. The Dominion of War recasts familiar triumphs as tragedies, proposes an unconventional set of turning points, and depicts imperialism and republicanism as inseparable influences in a pattern of development in which war and freedom have long been intertwined.   It offers a new perspective on America’s attempts to define its role in the world at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

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