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

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  724 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Apart from The Last of the Mohicans, most Americans know little of the French and Indian War-also known as the Seven Years' War-and yet it remains one of the most fascinating periods in our history. In January 2006, PBS will air The War That Made America, a four-part documentary about this epic conflict. Fred Anderson, the award-winning and critically acclaimed historian, ...more
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Published December 29th 2005 by Tantor Media (first published 2005)
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Nov 21, 2011 Mike rated it liked it  ·  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
Aug 29, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in conjunction with the excellent 4 part documentary also called The War That Made America, I found this to be a very good overview of the French and Indian War.   If you are interested in understanding more about what led to the American Revolution,  I would recommend learning about this conflict which ended only 13 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Jan 18, 2015 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, own
I love the title, and liked the book.

Anderson is pretty much The Man when it comes to the French and Indian War, as per his more substantial and more decorated Crucible of War: The Seven Years War and the Fate of Empire in British North America.

He certainly knows his stuff, and even though this is a relatively "Short History," it's a complex history and very complicated war.

Frankly many of the details are, well, details. It's the broad strokes and conclusions that Anderson draws the reader to r
John Sweeney
Dec 19, 2011 John Sweeney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 09, 2007 Brennan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2013 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-history
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
Andrew Lepczyk
Jan 01, 2017 Andrew Lepczyk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly readable. Would have liked to have a little more thorough analysis.
Jan 18, 2015 Tonja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
It’s not the war you think it is. According to Fred Anderson’s The War that Made America, the French and Indian War, or the Seven Years’ War as Europeans call it, is the war that made America. American colonists did not declare their independence from Britain until 1776, but colonial militias serving with English regular troops from 1754 to 1763, despite fighting as loyal subjects to the English crown, sowed the seeds of revolution that would eventually lead to the establishment of America as an ...more
Feb 02, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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.

Brian DiMattia
Apr 28, 2011 Brian DiMattia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 02, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.

Nov 29, 2009 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
As a History major (and an English Literature double major) I have to read so many books about both sides of the Atlantic and as I learn the history of the United States especially now during a time when people shout that they are real Americans and those who don't like it should leave, or that refugees shouldn't be allowed to come into this country. It is this book and many others like it that document the birth of the United States that should be taught in schools. Books that actually say what ...more
Apr 23, 2013 Chipauger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Keith Parrish
Feb 02, 2015 Keith Parrish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When asked to list the important wars in American history, most Americans would probably overlook the French and Indian War. I daresay that many Americans would not be able to name the two sides (it was not the French against the Indians). And yet this war had as much to do with shaping America as the Revolutionary or Civil War. Fred Anderson in this book gives an excellent overview of the causes, events, characters, and consequences of the war that led directly to the events that led to indepen ...more
Bob Price
Jan 28, 2011 Bob Price rated it it was ok
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
Jun 20, 2016 Cam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed look at the French & Indian War that really drives home how different North America was going into it and how much it changed things here in what became the U.S. Lots on the many campaigns of the war and the role the Indians played on each imperial side and with and against the colonials. Most new to me was the fluid role of the Iroquois Confederacy, the role of the non-affiliated tribes along the frontier especially in the Ohio areas, and how the different approaches to warfare set ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Roaldeuller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2016 JP rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
All that I previously remembered about the French and Indian War was that it preceded the American Revolution and that it was not a war between the French and Indians. This book is my kind of history. It's concise and readable. It points out the underlying trends and the key turning points. And it puts the outcomes into longer-term historical context. The French and Indian War was just one theater of a global conflict that shaped the world we have today. It was also a war that staged places and ...more
Jul 12, 2013 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 14, 2009 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 03, 2012 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 08, 2010 Rickster623 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 11, 2013 Erich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
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
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
Dec 30, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Read this several years ago. But a couple of other books I read lately triggered my interest in the Seven Years War again. I started to get a new book, but remembered this and decided to just reread. This time I listened to it on Audible.

Very well written and comprehensive overview of the war and it's long term effect including the Revolutionary War just a generation later. Included insightful observations on what made George Washington tick and the motivations that shaped his future decisions a
Ryan Finney
Jan 29, 2013 Ryan Finney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
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American historian of early North American history.
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