Crucible of War

The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766
Narrated by: Paul Woodson
Length: 29 hrs and 4 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (259 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this vivid and compelling narrative, the Seven Years' War - long seen as a mere backdrop to the American Revolution - takes on a whole new significance. Relating the history of the war as it developed, Anderson shows how the complex array of forces brought into conflict helped both to create Britain's empire and to sow the seeds of its eventual dissolution.

Beginning with a skirmish in the Pennsylvania backcountry involving an inexperienced George Washington, the Iroquois chief Tanaghrisson, and the ill-fated French emissary Jumonville, Anderson reveals a chain of events that would lead to world conflagration. Weaving together the military, economic, and political motives of the participants with unforgettable portraits of Washington, William Pitt, Montcalm, and many others, Anderson brings a fresh perspective to one of America's most important wars, demonstrating how the forces unleashed there would irrevocably change the politics of empire in North America.

©2000 Fred Anderson (P)2018 Tantor

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A Detailed History

Fred Anderson remains one of (and there are not many) best writers on the period just prior to the American Revolution. While this is, by the author's admission, a very long book it still stands as one of the better detailed history of the French and Indian War and the run-up to the Revolution. That being said, those looking for a more concise history would be better suited to Anderson's "The War That Made America." I consider myself something of a history nut, especially 18th Century American history, and so this book was exactly what I was looking for.

Positives:
Woodson delivers decent narration.
A detailed history of a forgotten global conflict that would make England the greatest power on the planet since the Empire of Rome and, ironically, sow the seeds of revolution within her colonies.
Anderson is a good author and the work does more than just relate what happened. He takes us "into the weeds" when necessary to gain an understanding of the personalities at work and the repercussions of both good and bad decisions made on the battlefield without losing sight of the bigger picture.

Negatives:
It is a detailed history. Its long and so is probably not what the casual reader/listener is looking for.
Anderson does allow his bias to come through a little more on this work. He is particularly critical of Wolfe and the run-up to the the Battle on the Plains of Abraham. The criticism is not unwarranted but its seems forgotten that a great deal of France's military strategy in North America centered on what they themselves called "savage war."
In many instances, Anderson adheres to the usual interpretation of personalities and events.

Recommendation:
If you are looking for an excellent, detailed overview of the French and Indian War, this is your book. Anderson is right that one cannot properly understand 1776 without understanding the events of 1754-1766.

13 people found this helpful

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Excellent Historical Account

The origins in the American Revolution lay in the 7 Years War. This Anderson's work provides an excellent, in-depth account of that war. He provides the perspective of most participants. It was a fascinating look at a time that few remember or appreciate.

5 people found this helpful

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The Rest of the Story

I really enjoyed learning so many details from the Seven Years War. So many more Americans played a crucial roll in this conflict, both here and overseas that I was unaware of. Not just George Washington, but Lees, Franklin, Adams and more. British officers who would play rolls in during our Revolution either were involved in the “first world war” or had relatives who did.
Good read/listen.

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent Account of the Seven Years' War

Fred Anderson makes a compelling case that the Seven Years' War was the most important event in Western World History during the 18th Century. Unlike most academic writers, he is a marvelous spellbinding writer. He draws you into his account with the very first chapter where Anderson describes an event where George Washington himself inadvertently is drawn into a fiasco that is cited as one of the reasons for engaging in the Seven Years' War, a war which Churchill called the first World War.

1 person found this helpful

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Superb

The Seven Years War -French and Indian War doesn’t get enough attention except as a prelude to the American Revolution. This is a well researched, well written narrative that any history buff would love. The best book available in the subject.

1 person found this helpful

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Worth The Credit

This book is well worth the credit. Not only is it a great history on the French & Indian War, but it sets the basis for the Revolution and explains the origins and why,

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Well researched; entertaining; gateway events resulting in conception of United States

Deeper examination of pre-revolutionary war. Historical figures become better understood as unknown and vital American and English characters are introduced. British royalty and politician’s disputes regarding treatment of their North American receive fascinating treatment.

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Hey very good general history, detailed and gripping

The period covered by this book is extremely important in North American history, both in Canada and United States, but also in the development of the British Empire and clouds of unrest that produced the American revolution in the French revolution alike. Anderson succeeds both in his narrative aim of creating a general history that is nonetheless scholarly about this crucial upheaval, but also narrating a new understanding of the impact of cultural misunderstanding on historical events. The sheer geographical sweep of the seven years war is difficult to comprehend a little loan write a book about, and undoubtedly there are academic weaknesses that I’m not aware of in this book, but with the excellent narration on top of its detailed storytelling, I found it excellent read.

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A deep dive

Good reading but the depth and detail, though pretty heavy, is what makes this a gem. He cover the French and Indian War but shows how it all played out to create what would become the American Revolution

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The best history book I've read

Extremely comprehensive and informative. You get a good narration of what's going on and he breaks it down so you get a feel for the meaning of it all. I guess my one gripe would be that it's too long; which is a symptom of it being filled to the brim with information. I'd rather it be too long than too short.

Thus far, this is probably the best history book I've "read".