The French & Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America

 

By Walter R. Borneman, HarpersCollins Publishers; $27.95

Drawing from a broad spectrum of primary and secondary sources, Walter Borneman has produced a comprehensive study of the French and Indian War in a compact reader for a general audience.

This predominantly military account of the war, set in historical context, contains less detail than Fred Anderson’s widely acclaimed authority on the subject, Crucible of War (2000), but clearly and concisely illustrates the factors leading to the war, as well as its far-reaching results.

Borneman argues that the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) not only settled the immediate decision of hegemony over North America, but set the stage for the Revolutionary War as epilogue to what he contends legitimately merits designation as the first World War.

Tracing developments in North America, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia, Borneman connects the struggle for power in Europe with the conflicts being played out on battlefields and in virgin wilderness from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Great Britain effectively expelled its archrival France from the continent and began its dominating world empire.

From Gen. Braddock’s defeat on the Monongahela in 1755 to the Treaty of Paris in 1763, as the British won strategic holds at Forts Ticonderoga, Duquesne, Niagra and Montreal, the world map forever changed. Borneman’s treatise explains how issues developed and escalated, eventually leading to American independence and the near-annihilation of the American Indian through France’s loss to Great Britain in North America.

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