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The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America (Pivotal Moments in American History)

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  205 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In this superb volume in Oxford's acclaimed Pivotal Moments series, Colin Calloway reveals how the Treaty of Paris of 1763 had a profound effect on American history, setting in motion a cascade of unexpected consequences, as Indians and Europeans, settlers and frontiersmen, all struggled to adapt to new boundaries, new alignments, and new relationships.
Britain now posses...more
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Published May 1st 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2006)
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This is well worth a read for any history buff interested in the French & Indian War in North America. It focuses on the socialogical implications of the war, and how it affected many of the different populations, both directly and indirectly. It gave more note of some of the often overlooked groups such as the Acadians/Cajuns, the Native American tribes in the south, and the Spanish. Well written & researched.
Sarah Iozzio
I like reading about history, but this was the most boring, nonsensically organized book I've ever read.
Eunice Schroeder
Not as well written as other books by professional historians aimed at the general public that I have recently read. However, the author provides a detailed picture of the changes to the North American continent that resulted from the 1763 Peace of Paris treaty than ended the momentous Seven Years War (usually called the French and Indian War in America). The treaty ended the French presence on the continent that dated back two centuries and included a huge amount of territory from the St. Lawre...more
Calloway's book looks at the demographic shake-up that the Treaty of Paris of 1763, after the French & Indian War (Seven Years' War), afforded upon the North American continent.

Throughout the book, it also makes clear that in the treaty itself, where Britain inherited most of North America, were the seeds of the it's undoing. An expensive world war to be paid for, in part, by Americans; restrictive land use by those whom won the war, the Anglo-Americans; usurpation of native Indian land by...more
Part of Oxford UP's "Pivotal Moments in American History" series, Scratch of a Pen would only be a blinding flash of the obvious if it treated the 1763 Peace of Paris solely as a diplomatic event in the "pre-history" of the American Revolution. However, Calloway does so much more here than that. As he states in his intro, "The purpose of this book is not to retell the familiar story of the growing rift between Britain and the thirteen colonies…Rather, it surveys the enormous changes generated by...more
This book is another in the series of American history books I have read in the last two years that turn the received wisdom of the early years of our country on its head. If I were a more creative person, this book would provide the underlying plot of any number of wonderful historical novels or alternative histories. One could imagine a sweeping Margaret Mitchell-esque story of the serial evacuation and repatriation of first the Spanish and then the English in pre-Revolutionary Florida. One co...more
Jay Perkins
In 1763 Britain signed the Treaty of Paris which ended the Seven Years War and gave her dominion over much of the North America continent. Just 20 years later, Britain lost most of this grand empire in another Treaty of Paris. What happened? Much of what took place in 1763 set the course for the next 20 years. Galloway does an excellent job of describing events during this pivotal year. Balanced and articulate, he evaluates not only the political situation, but spends time explaining how the yea...more
1763! A year that should stand out as do the years 1776, 1860, 1929 in American History. As I read this book, I kept questioning how I didn't know the information of The Treaty of Paris that ended the French & Indian Wars, and meant so much to the birth of our nation. Perhaps I was asleep the day/week/year it was taught in High School or perhaps our education system is not well versed in its teaching. Either way, The Scratch of a Pen takes us back to this pivotal period and shows how a peace...more
Kathy  Petersen
My city, St. Louis, was founded as a trading post in 1763. (Well, that's when Pierre Laclede and his stepson Auguste Chouteau came up the river from New Orleans and chose the site. They came back in February of the next year to start building.) I did know a lot else was happening on the continent that year, but never so well as Calloway tells it. Incidentally the Epilogue, the last seven pages of the book, is an excellent capsule "look ahead" discussion of the far-reaching influence this year an...more
L.B. Joramo
I can't believe I let other's reviews of this book stop me for so long from reading this. This is one of the best books I've read--comprehensive, organized, and brilliant, flowing prose.

It is short, when compared to other historical books, but pack a wallop of information. This is an important read for any historian! Please read it!
A detailed, if uneven look at an often overlooked aspect -- and yes, determinant of the American experience. There is a lot of good information and background here, although it does not flow particularly well. What does flow well is the introduction and the epilogue. The epilogue, in fact IS the story, and the author does an excellent job of putting the spolis of the war into context and how the parties involved never overcame the die that was cast with all that was the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
Dave Clark
Colin Calloway deftly lays out the impact of the Paris Treaty of 1763 on the North American continent. He does an excellent job of capturing the diversity and complexity of peoples that were affected by this monumental treaty that reshaped the political and cultural geography, set in motion a revolution, and resulted in the ultimate defeat of Native American land rights’. It is on the short list for anybody interested in learning more about early North American history.
a lot of detail hard to keep up with.
Susan Horan
Short, basic overview of a somewhat neglected area of history: how the end of the French & Indian War affected the peoples of North America geographically, culturally and politically. Calloway demonstrates how the foundation for the American Revolution was already being laid thirteen years before it began. He especially focuses on how the war's outcome affected various Native American tribes and their relationships with the colonists.
So it would seem that 1763 was just another year before the revolution but this book really makes the case that actions are often started years before without anyone realizing what will take place. I had always wondered about the French in Canada and this gave me a good understanding of that situation and why they are still practicing their French heritage instead of becoming part of the larger Canadian British culture.
I thought this was a good book. I sometime felt like I got lost on the many places and people. It was somewhat difficult to all the connections that he was hoping to draw in the book. There was just a lot of countries and people to keep straight. I do see how 1763 was such a huge year in the history of our country.

It definitely makes me feel sorry for way the British, French and Spanish treated Indians. wow.
Homer H Blass
First class diplomatic and Social History Show how the terms of the Peace of Paris of 1763 played havoc with most of the organized socio-ehtnic groups living in North America. It set in motion a collision between British and colonist; colonist and native Americans; and native Americans and blacks. Diplomats in Paris played fruitbasket turnover or 52 card pickup with large groups of people 5000 miles away.
I really liked this book because it made me think about American history from a different perspective. It amazed me to find that the French signed away a huge tract of North America in exchange for a few islands--and they may have gotten the better part of the deal. It was also interesting to read that England gaining control of this region actually destabilized its hold on the continent.
BORING, but there were some interesting facts to be taken away. It reminded me of some of my least favorite books I had to read in my college history classes. Do not read this book if you do not absolutely love history. It is probably one of the reasons there are people who claim to hate history out there.
Travis Ferrell
A fascinating examination of a period of North American history of which I knew very little. I highly recommend it if you are interested in reasons for the American Revolution, history of Quebecoises and Acadians, and inter- and intra- First Nations interactions with and as a result of European imperial powers.
Mark Singer
Calloway provides an excellent and brief description of the state of British North America in the crucial year of 1763, right at the end of the Seven Years War. This was a required text for a course I took on the American Revolution in the Spring of 2010 at Temple University - Ambler.
You wouldn't think that one year in history could have much affect on the years that followed it. But this book makes very clear how critical 1763 was to North America, even more than 200 years later. Great book.
Seems to be a great, consice book on the time around and during the French and Indian War. Focuses on the feelings generated during the era that led to the American Revolution.
Chris Johnson
A fantastic historical look at North American before and after the signing of the Declaration. I great book for any revolution and founding fathers lover out there.
Mark Luongo
Worked with Dr. Calloway this past July at Dartmouth College. Wasn't into it as I would have liked, my fault not the author's. Plenty of interesting information.
Mary Brinkman
This book was so fascinating, it sent me to the library to read much, much more about this period in our continent's early history.
Thank god he gave us the questions from each chapter and I just had to skim. I can't imagine reading this whole book word for word.
Emily S.
I mean, it's a textbook for my history class. Though, it WAS much better than most history books I've had used in classes.
A Chaotic attempt to (yet again) paint America as an evil fascist tyranny--even before there was an America.
Very interesting insight into the real causes behind the American Revolution
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