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Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 Paperback – January 23, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Anderson's subject is a relatively small slice of US history--the conflict known variously as the French and Indian War or the Seven Years War, along with the war's immediate aftermath. His narrative is highly informative. He describes how isolated skirmishes on what was then America's western frontier escalated into a true global war, involving every major European power. He convincingly explains how England eventually came to triumph over her rivals, and to inherit much of France's erstwhile colonial empire. Although his focus in on North America, he does not neglect events in Europe. He then shows how events like the Stamp Act Crisis and Pontiac's Rebellion were inextricably linked to the war and its outcome.
Anderson deserves credit for his skillful blend of diplomatic, military, economic and social history into a coherent whole--he should be a model for other scholars in this respect. Also noteworthy is his clear identification of the interest of the four main groups involved in the North American conflict--the French and their Canadian colonists, the English, the American colonists, and the Native Americans--and his untangling of the conflicts both within and between these groups.
While specialists may end up quibbling with some of the details of Anderson's interpretations, he seems to me to have amply demonstrated his claim that the French and Indian War was an extremely important influence on the revolutionary events of the following decades. "Crucible of War" is a genuine classic of historical writing.
While the Seven Years War has always figured front and center in European minds, it's been overshadowed in the US. But, it was the first real 'world war'. It built the British Empire, and sowed the seeds for the downfall of the western part of it, a mere ten years later. Anderson knits the complex events together with great skill, and follows the stories of the many seedy, greedy and incompetent players (along with the patriots and professionals) as they try to first turn back the tide of the French, and then figure out a way to conquer Canada. The insights into the Indian aspects of the war are remarkable. There's a lot of "battles and generals" writing, but he does not neglect the stories of ordinary soldiers and civilians.
A lot of famous folk don't come across too well in Anderson's account. His penetrating comments on Washington and Wolfe won't make him a lot of friends, but, so be it.
You'll come away from this knowing far more about the true reasons for the Revolution, which was almost an inevitable sequel to this conflict. I'd recommend reading it in conjunction with Kevin Phillip's "The Cousins' War."