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The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War
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The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  455 ratings  ·  74 reviews
The globe's first true world war comes vividly to life in this "rich, cautionary tale" (The New York Times Book Review) The French and Indian War -the North American phase of a far larger conflagration, the Seven Years' War-remains one of the most important, and yet misunderstood, episodes in American history. Fred Anderson takes readers on a remarkable journey through the ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2005)
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May 15, 2012 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by:
I should have paid closer attention to the note: “the official companion to the PBS miniseries of the same title.” Maybe you have to read this and see the TV show to get the full story. This book was like the root beer without the ice cream. It’s good but it doesn’t measure up to a great root beer float…which is what I was expecting. So just 3 Stars for the The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War

From the back of the dust cover: “This vibrant, sweeping history of t
Theo Logos
The French and Indian War is the American name for a conflict that stretched around the globe; a war known in Europe as the Seven Years War. In The War That Made America, Anderson sticks to the history of the war as it played out in North America, with only a nod to the war as fought in the West Indies, Europe, Asia, and the Philippines. He bookends his story in preface and epilogue by showing what affect the war had on the life, training, and outlook of George Washington, the most famous Americ ...more
John Sweeney
I have to admit that I knew very little about the nuts and bolts of the French & Indian War before I picked up Anderson's book. The War That Made America was an excellent introduction, though. Anderson's thesis is that the war can accurately be seen only as a tri-lateral affair in which Native American diplomatic maneuvering and military contributions played a pivotal role. He lays out his argument skillfully and supports it with admirable detail. But this isn't a dry, academic account of th ...more
Wow! I loved this - picked it up in an airport and couldn't put it down. This is a highly readable account of what the author calls the first world war - and what I learned in school is not the whole picture. Anderson explores the French archives and also has a nuanced and thorough understanding of the role that indigenous people played: how their treaties and alliances among and against themselves and the British and French lead to very different policies toward frontier settlement and shaped p ...more
Mike Hankins
You might have thought that the war that made america was the war for independence. Turns out, no, it was actually the 7 Years war. I haven't seen the documentary mini-series that this accompanied, so I'm not sure how it stacks up, but this book is pretty great. Its a good example of bridging the gap between "scholarly" and "popular," in that anyone that is even remotely interested can pick it up and read it, but it also has plenty of well-done research and some good interpretive frameworks.

I really struggled getting through this book. That is probably more on me than the fault of the author. I genuinely wanted to know more about this war, but the short chapters and bouncing around between numerous historical figures whom I had never heard of made it tough for me to concentrate. It might just be that this is the end of the summer for me, but I found the chapters too short (some were only 4-5 pages) to keep me interested in what was happening. By the time I could start to enjoy lear ...more
Brian DiMattia
When I first got a good look at this book, I thought it would be a little fluffy. After all, it was 265 pages with lots of big pictures, and billed itself as a companion to a PBS special. It could have easily been a light bit of summary. Instead, it managed to be possibly the most efficient book of history I've ever read!

In that 265 pages, Fred Anderson manages to discuss not only a war, but the entirety of political, military, economic and social life in pre-Revolutionary North America. As to t
Fred Anderson's The War That Made America is a fascinating retelling of the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years' War, the conflict that immediately preceded the American Revolution. Anderson's history is particularly interesting because he focuses on the role native forces and colonial irregulars played in the fighting and demonstrates how the war was not just between France and Great Britain, but a three-way conflict between the two superpowers and America's indigenous people.

Good Book for the Casual Reader of History

Professor Anderson's book gives us about as complete a recounting of the French And Indian War as can be accomplished in under 300 pages. In "The War That Made America" he has deftly related the events of this period with sound explanations of the struggles and motivations that brought participants from so many different social and political groups to this conflict. He thoroughly explains what was stake for the parties involved and the consequences for n
"Today, two hundred and fifty years after the French and Indian War, most Americans are no more familiar with its events and significance than they are with those of the Peloponnesian War. . . . That the man who triggered the war by trying to project British power into the heart of the continent should have gone on to lead an American revolutionary army and then to serve as the first president of the United States is surely one of the greater ironies in a national history that abounds in them." ...more
The War That Made America: The Story of the French and Indian War by Fred Anderson

This was the next history book I’ve listen to in the last month. It was a short history of the French and Indian war and gives the reader/listener a concise overview of the war. The politics of the war were amazing. The French, the Indians tribes, the British and Colonial Americans were all vying for the land and... use of the important waterways in the NE part of New France (Canada). It’s an important War because
Michael Bond
This book was the right length and style for someone who just wants to get a taste of what happened in the war just prior to the American Revolution. The maps are helpful. Sometimes it was hard to keep track of the names involved in the battles and diplomatic situations since they were not always obviously French or English surnames.
I have ancestors who settled parts of New York and Pennsylvania, and I thought I should better understand the Revolutionary War to gain a feeling for their surroundings at the time. As it turns out, it is rather hard to understand the context of that war, without first knowing this one.

Anderson does a masterful job of condensing myriad events from four great societies (French, English, American, and Indian) into one vibrant text that never misses a beat as it races through an account of the Fren
Normally I shy away from abbreviated versions of much larger "comprehensive" works. But for some reason I choose "The War that Made America" over "Crucible of War" and I now regret it. As smoothly written as is the former, on almost every page I was eager for more detail, which simply couldn't be included in a 250-page volume. I am now confronted with the likely possibility of either purchasing Mr. Anderson's earlier work to satisfy my hunger (to which I am sure the author would have no objectio ...more
Living in New England, and having grown up in Pennsylvania, I've always wanted to know more about the French and Indian War. So this book has been well reviewed in the press and I decided to try and learn something about the conflict that just pre-dated the Revolution.

Gosh, I thought people had stopped writing about history as simply a description of a series of battles. Granted, it's a book about a war, but the author says repeatedly how important the Native Americans were to the outcome of th
Bob Price
While not the best, nor the most exciting history reading, the War that Made America does shed light on an overlooked period of American History.

The book, written as a companion to the PBS documentary, can really be seen as an abridgment of Anderson's Crucible of War. This book was simpler and easier to understand. Although short, it highlights the major movements of the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) and helps Americans to understand the rich history that puts the American Revolution i
Not done yet, but so far have found this to be very engaging. For anyone who is interested in Revolutionary War history to not understand the North American battles, politics and European conflicts leading up to the war is sort of like having blinders on (like watching a sequel first). So much of what developed, including the personalities of people like Washington are grounded in this conflict.

Well worth also reading to gain an understanding of the level of cross-continental conflict between th
This book was unfortunately a bit dry, but more than made up for it with an extremely detailed history of the French and Indian war, or the War of Seven Years. I learned so much from this book that it made me want to go out and get more books on the subject and related wars.

The history of the native Americans and their part in the war was largely unknown to me, as we are taught in school that the natives basically did the bidding of their colonial masters without explaining why, what their motiv
I had not realized how badly this war was named until I read this book. Borneman describes how this was the first global war, actually an extension of the centuries long English-French conflicts into the new territories they both wanted to claim. In the end, Borneman demonstrates how this war was named for its losers.

Interesting to the modern reader is how poorly the vast lands of North American were valued in comparison to the Caribbean Islands.

While the details of the battles read like a text
I would give the book 3.5 stars if I could. While reading the book I felt like I was back in school, reading a textbook. I'm amazed at how little I know about the two centuries of colonization of eastern North America by the French, Dutch and British! Although I now feel better informed, I also am pointed toward other topics for future study, such as the Native American tribes of this period. With the help of wikipedia I was able to flesh out the other areas in which the Seven Years' War was fou ...more
This is a brief, well written, and sometime humorous account of the "accidental" world war kicked off by George Washington and an argument that this war led to a sense of separation between the British colonies in North America and their rulers in England. Some of the military situations involve so much chance, luck, guile, and subterfuge, that the book reads like a good novel, without sacrificing accuracy or historicity.

A book that's worth the time, if you are interested in the French and India
Tom Rowe
This is a brief and to-the-point rundown of the French and Indian War.
Greg Brown
A great history book, amazing how we'll it covers such a complex war
Ryan Finney
To the author's credit, the subject he attempted to cover in the short amount of pages was a challenging task, and one I believe he did as best as he could with. However, just as a preference, I think that the book sagged a little in the middle and became muddled with new places and characters so much that it became hard to keep track of them. The beginning and ending were nice touches, but overall I stand by 3 stars. I'm sure his much larger work on the topic, The Crucible of War, would remedy ...more
Bob Bauer
Clearer insight into the making of America. The alliances between the French and various Indian tribes v the British and the Iriquois revealed a complicated series of shifting alliances and political intrigue. The defeat of France and the dominion over Canada by Britain seemed to portend the beginning of a great empire in North America. Colonists reached high patriotic fervor that only a dozen years later turned into anger and resentment toward Britain, a testament to how quickly things can chan ...more
Brian Grant
Interesting and approachable history of a critical period in the formation of America. I genuinely have a much better appreciation for the foundational events and questions that gave rise to rebellion as a result of this war. I also had no idea of the global, geo-political extent of the Seven Years War. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in American history (and history of the British Empire for that matter) without the time to really dive in to more detailed texts and courses.
Gillian Holmes
If having something like a "favorite war" wasn't such a reprehensible idea, then my favorite war would be the French and Indian War. This is a concise telling of it. Almost too concise actually--though the "plot" moves quickly, I felt a little rushed jumping from one battle to the next. I'd've liked a little more in-depth study of different figures, causes and effects. Still scratched my itch though.
Very detailed military history of the Seven Years' War. Well done for those who like military history. Less of the explicit revisionist argument about big ideas that's promised in the introduction. Anderson still takes a fundamentally European perspective, native story fading into the background in many places, despite his intentions. But I know much more about this period than I knew before.
The beginning of this book was the best, explaining the complex diplomatic, business, and military relationships between the various Native American tribes across regions and the English and French traders and statesmen. Once the actual war started, I found it a bit hard to keep all the characters straight, maybe because the author doesn't provide much biographical info on the key players.
Reading much about the American Revolution, I wanted to read this book to gain some insight into the years before that event. I found the book very informative but lacking some crucial details. I'm certain those details exist in Anderson's more complete history of the conflict. I felt I had to struggle through some parts but having some advanced knowledge on the subject helped me through.
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American historian of early North American history.
More about Fred Anderson...
Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000 A People's Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years' War George Washington Remembers: Reflections on the French and Indian War Roofing with a Naked Lady and other stories

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