- Hardcover: 514 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; First edition (February 9, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521827426
- ISBN-13: 978-0521827423
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,052,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In Search of Empire: The French in the Americas, 1670-1730 First Edition
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"Some books become must-read classics that no serious student can ignore. James Pritchard's In Search of an Empire: The French in Americas, 1670-1730 will undoubtedly be such a book....[It] is an extremely well written book...This superb study of French colonization in America offers one of the very best introductions to the subject available today. No serious student of French America can afford to bypass this book."
- International Journal of Maritime History
"This well-written work will become an indispensable reference for anyone interested in the history of France's first colonies."
- American Historical Review, Leslie Choquette
"This is an impressively researched work."
- The Journal of American History, John T. McGrath, Boston University, Massachusetts
"The author draws on archival findings as wells as scattered existing studies, and the book, with ample footnotes and an excellent bibliography, constitutes an invaluable resource for anyone interested in comparative colonialism."
- The Journal of Military History, Daniel A. Baugh, Cornell University
"...the author's grasp of a rich and wide-ranging recent historiography [makes this his] ... most ambitious book. Those who lecture to undergraduates in comparative European colonial history will find this particularly useful."
The Northern Mariner
"...highly informative... The author draws on archival findings as well as scattered existing studies, and the book, with ample footnotes and an excellent bibliography, constitutes an invaluable resource for anyone interested in comparative colonialism."
The Journal of Military History
"The book will appeal to schoalrs of French America interested in synthetic treatment of their field by a prominent historian and to readers who are particularly curious about topics that Pritchard handles especially well, such as maritime, economic and military-imperial aspects of French colonial history." The Journal of Modern History Paul Mapp, College of William and Mary
"Pritchard's meticulous dessection of colonial production alone seems certain to generate thousands of footnotes. We owe him a great debt for thsi thorough synthesis." - Christopher Hodson, University of Pennsylvania
"...the work is an essential interpretation of the French colonies and an important resource on many of the details of colonial administration and warfare." -Thomas J. Lappas, H-French-Colonial
Elusive Empire is the first full account of how during 1670 and 1730 French settlers came to the Americas. It examines how they and thousands of African slaves together with Amerindians constructed settlements and produced and traded commodities for export. Bringing together much new evidence, the author explores how the newly constructed societies and new economies, without precedent in France, interacted with the growing international violence in the Atlantic world in order to present a fresh perspective of the multifarious French colonizing experience in the Americas.
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Top customer reviews
This book is a wonderful study of the mindset of French empire and an explanation of its failures.
The author goes about his corrective historiographical task primarily by citing a lot of statistics. So and so many people lived on this island in this decade, so and so many tons of products were shipped from here to there, and so on. The only persons who might be interested in this much data are indeed his colleagues who specialize in the same field. In the chapter on Government and Politics the author discusses the personal motivations of specific colonial governors at some length, but he fails to say anything general about how colonial government worked or didn't work. The next 150 pages of the book then discuss how French wars played out in the colonies, again in excruciating detail; this general sailed his ships over there and lost so and so many men in the ensuing battle, and then so and so many ships sailed to the next battle. All of this is extremely boring because it teaches the reader absolutely nothing of general interest.
Even in the concluding chapter, where the wisdom-deprived reader would finally hope to learn something of value, the author continues to cite how many tons were shipped and what the motivations of various minor colonial and continental players were when they acted the way they did. I guess he simply conceives history in this way: as a series of small events which are not linked in any meaningful way to each other, and which are indescribable in general terms except for the statistical data which happened to be recorded at the time, or the individual motivations that diaries reveal. This is an intellectually poor and unsatisfying view of history, so I wouldn't be surprised if the author's lectures don't gather much attendance at his university. Elliott’s book, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: it shows that historical explanations which go deeper than the surface can be both interesting in themselves and pertinent for understanding the present.