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The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War Hardcover – December 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670034541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670034543
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author of the award-winning, scholarly account of the French and Indian War Crucible of War (2000) offers a scaled-down, popular version of that history in this companion volume to the January 2006 PBS documentary. It is an excellent introduction to a conflict that most Americans know little about, and that Winston Churchill called the first worldwide war. Anderson focuses on the North American theater, the outcome of which he claims "transformed the colonists' world forever" and, in effect, "made America." He shows how the conflict encouraged colonials "to conceive of themselves as equal partners in the [British] empire," a concept that Britain did not share and that led inexorably to postwar strife and revolution. In a departure from earlier accounts, Anderson gives unprecedented coverage to the role of Native Americans in the struggle and demonstrates how the war paved the way for the American government's eventual "destruction or subjugation of native societies." Like the best popular historians, Anderson combines exhaustive research and an accessible prose style in a volume that should help rescue the French and Indian War from historical obscurity. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

By the 1763 British victory in the Seven Years War (referred to as the French and Indian War in North America), Britain reigned supreme over the eastern half of North America. Yet, a mere 13 years later, a group of lawyers, merchants, and planters would demand, and eventually win, independence for a huge slice of that American empire. Anderson presents a concise, engrossing narrative of this seminal conflict, convincingly illustrating how it led directly to tensions and eventually warfare between the British government and her subjects along the Atlantic coast. Anderson's explanations of the origins of the struggle are particularly insightful; he also provides a great service by restoring the role of various Native American groups to an essential place in the war. This is an outstanding account of a frequently misunderstood war that will be especially appealing to general readers with an interest in American history. It is a companion book to the four-part PBS documentary scheduled to air in January 2006. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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The book is very well written, and moves right along.
Gadget Man
One of the few history books I truly regret that I had not read years earlier - highly recommended.
Paul Brooks
The War That Made America by Fred Anderson is an excellent account of the French and Indian War.
John Mugge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Theo Logos on March 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The French and Indian War is the American name for their part in a conflict that stretched around the globe and was known as the Seven Years War. In `The War That Made America', Anderson sticks to the history of the war as it played out in North America, with only a nod to the war as fought in the West Indies, Europe, Asia, and the Philippines. He bookends his story in preface and epilogue by showing what affect the war had on the life, training, and outlook of George Washington, the most famous American to play a key part in it, which proves an effective shorthand device for showing the importance of the war to American history.

Anderson brings to this short history of the war a perspective which has not always been acknowledged - that it was not a conflict between two imperial powers - Britain and France, but between three - Britain, France, and the Iroquois Confederation. Not only does he restore the essential details of the pivotal role that the Five Nations of the Iroquois played in the war, but he shows how the causes of the war lay as much in the struggle of the western tribes of Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo attempting to gain their independence from the Iroquois as it did in the French and English competition over the lands of the Ohio River Valley. He deftly handles these complex details; sorting them out and making them accessible to the general reader.

Anderson is that rare scholar who possesses a novelist's way with words, and his short history of this war is as entertaining and easy to read as it is informative. He moves the story along briskly, never getting too bogged down in details, but communicating all the important facts necessary for a basic understanding of the war. His book is a painless introduction for anyone who is attempting to gain a basic understanding of this fascinating and important history. I recommend it as a perfect place to begin study of this most crucial of colonial conflicts.

Theo Logos
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By C. Hutton on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Anderson wrote the classic history of the French and Indian Wars in his "Crucible of War" (1999). That rendering of the fourth and final war between France and England for the possesion of the New World was covered in nearly 750 pages of narrative plus 150 pages of index and notes. Now he has abridged his earlier account with "The War that Made America" which is the companion volume to the PBS documentary of the same name that airs later this month.

This rendition of The Seven Years' War, as the conflict was also named, should be considered as "The French and Indian War Lite." With less than 300 pages, this abridgement has a more specific focus upon the exploits of our American ancestors and less of a focus on the previous three wars, the European political scheming and military details of various battles. The reader desiring a fuller account can always turn to the original "Crucible of War." Any reader desiring further information of that era can read the historical novels of Kenneth Roberts,especially "Northwest Passage" (1936) and "Arundel" (1930) or view the 1992 film version of "The Last of the Mohicans."
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Peter G. Keen VINE VOICE on February 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The French and Indian Wars are generally treated as a subtheme in the wider context of the war between Britain and France that in a single year -- 1759 -- gave Britain its Empre -- Wolfe's capture of Quebec, Clive's victories in India which provided the treasures that funded the Industrial Revolution, the capture of the sugar islands that createdSilicon Valley wealth for the new political class, and Hawke's and Boscawen's naval victories that began the ownership of the oceans that soon was extended by Cochrane and Nelson as the consequent protagonists of an entirely new style of sea battle.

The American colonial part of this triumph is generally seen as at most a sideshow, although one of the well-known and great ironies of history is that the entire war was launched -- after a long build up -- by the blunder of a young British officer, George Washington that gave the French the excuse they needed to start what was indeed the first global war.

This excellent, well-written book with, from my own knowledge, its impeccably researched and balanced scholarship, shifts the focus from Europe to the complex four-sided relationships and intense politics of the Iroquois Six Nations, very sophisticated and key to the British success, the British administrators/military commanders, the Colonial players and their French equivalents. It helps explain better than any other book I have read how it was this period and this war that is at the roots of the American Revolution and perhaps made it inevitable.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Chris Luallen on November 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am normally much more interested in cultural history rather than military history. But this book caught my attention with it's title, "The War That Made America," as I wanted to better understand this war's significance in forming the future of our nation. Unfortunately, this explanation is primarily provided in the book's final chapter and epilogue, where it is explained how Britain's truimph over the French left the Native Americans in a dire position. For example, the various tribes had previously been able to play off the British and French against each other and maintain a favorable position for themselves in both trade and the formation of alliances. However, the Indians were now left to largely fend for themselves against both the imperial designs of the powerful British Empire and the American colonists who began to push west of the Appalachian Mountains. The book also explains how the war helped to build the military career of George Washington while adding to the tensions between the British crown, who wished to raise taxes and assert greater control, and the American colonists, who wished to maintain their privileges and freedoms. Of course, this eventually led to the American Revolution, where the former British military officer, George Washington, led the colonists in victory over the redcoats. In this sense, Anderson does a capable job of making the case that the French And Indian War played a substantial role in the shaping of America's future.

Unfortunately, Anderson only provides this context at the end of the book. The vast majority of chapters instead focus on the numerous battles that took place between the British and the French, who were the winning and losing officers and what military tactics were used to achieve victory.
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