I am an academic who has been fortunate in many ways - teaching at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, the country's leading school of international relations; serving in government, most recently as Counselor of the Department of State from 2007 to 2009; and having the freedom to move from political science, my original discipline, to history.
One friend who looked at the manuscript CONQUERED INTO LIBERTY, wrote to me -- "Aha! A love note!" and in some ways it is that. It deals with almost two centuries of battles along the Great Warpath route from Albany to Montreal, and it does, I hope, show some of my affection for this part of the country. A good part of the fun of writing the book was tramping around all the sites that I describe in it. But its purpose is serious: to show how the American way of war emerged from our conflict with an unlikely opponent: Canada. It tells the story of ten battles and shows how they reveal deeper truths about the American approach to war. The title, in fact, comes from a propaganda pamphlet strewn about Canada before the Americans invaded in 1775: "You have been conquered into liberty..." it began, and that notion is one that is still with us.
But the argument of the book, I believe, should not detract from stories that will appeal to readers. I hope that you will be as fascinated as I am not only by the events, but by characters you knew (George Washington, for example) whom I show in rather different lights than is customary, and even more so by characters you will probably meet here for the first time. A personal favorite: La Corne St. Luc, the incredibly wily French aristocrat who fought the British, sided with them, joined the Americans, rejoined the British and died one of Canada's wealthiest men after several decades of terrorizing the northern frontier. But there are others: enjoy discovering them!