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

Fred Anderson, Author, William L Clements Library, Illustrator
Fred Anderson, Author, William L Clements Library, Illustrator Alfred A. Knopf $45 (912p) ISBN 978-0-375-40642-3
Paperback - 912 pages - 978-0-375-70636-3
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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. (Feb.)
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