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

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

Author: Fred Anderson
Publisher: Vintage
Copyright: 2000
Pages: 912

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Histories of the American Revolution tend to start in 1763, the end of the Seven Year's War, a worldwide struggle for empire that pitted France against England in North America, Europe, and Asia. Fred Anderson, who teaches history at the University of Colorado, takes the story back a decade and explains the significance of the conflict in American history. Demonstrating that independence was not inevitable or even at first desired by the colonists, he shows how removal of the threat from France was essential before Americans could develop their own concepts of democratic government and defy their imperial British protectors. Of great interest is the importance of Indians in the conflict.

Both the French and English had Indian allies; France's defeat ended a diplomatic system in which Indian nations, especially the 300-year-old Iroquois League, held the balance between the colonial powers. In a fast-paced narrative, Anderson moves with confidence and ease from the forests of Ohio and battlefields along the St. Lawrence to London's House of Commons and the palaces of Europe. He makes complex economic, social, and diplomatic patterns accessible and easy to understand. Using a vast body of research, he takes the time to paint the players as living personalities, from George III and George Washington to a host of supporting characters.

Background Information

New France was a huge territory claimed by French explorers, stretching from present day Quebec through the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi Valley. That the territory that is now the state of Ohio was closed to settlement by the British was one of the contributing factors in the Revolution.