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Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  3,023 ratings  ·  116 reviews
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.

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Paperback, 912 pages
Published January 23rd 2001 by Vintage (first published 2000)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,023 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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Jeremy Perron
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As I explained in my last few posts, a short while ago, I decided to do a straight reading up on the history of my country. Not by a series of biographies or of any particular event; but a simple march through the ages exploring all the eras of the United States of America. The biggest challenge is to find books that try their best to explore from multiple perspectives in order to avoid just one narrow view, without at the same time surrendering a general narrative that is both readable and enjo ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is not very often you come across a history book that can be considered the authoritative account of a period. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 is one of the rare books to achieve this status, you will come to understand the “French and Indian War” or the “Seven Years War” in a new light. A through account of the “World” War that featured the North American conflict, the European conflict, the British efforts in India, the fight ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
The book excels in three respects. First, Anderson is a superb writer, as close as one will find to the Great Parkman. Second, it abounds with terrific maps and illustrations, many of which I have not seen before, from the Clements Collection at the University of Michigan. Third, and most importantly, Anderson does the best job of anyone I know in justifying the thesis that it was this war, and not the Revolution, which was the most significant conflict of the 18th century from "America's" stand ...more
Myke Cole
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent narrative history of the social, economic, and military aspects of the Seven Years War, in both Europe and the burgeoning Americas, and their role in sparking the American Revolution. Anderson’s narrative style is brisk, and he does a good job of keeping dense topics like the economics of rum manufacture and export relevant and engaging to the overall story.

The author is also careful to hit the topic from all the relevant perspectives, allowing the reader a view from the socially high
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the best history books I have ever read. This is in no small measure due to the fact that Anderson is a terrific writer, which made this a very hard book to put down, despite its length. His style made the book flow, and I am amazed at his ability to easily sequence the multitude of events which took place in Europe and in North America. There were no rough transitions, and more importantly, Anderson was able to effectively transition from the strategic to the operational ...more
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Historian Fred Anderson’s thesis in ‘Crucible of War’ is that by winning the Seven Years’ War, known in the colonies as the French and Indian War, Great Britain acquired an empire in North America whose people it could not coerce and vast lands it could not control. Thus, the subtitle is ‘The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766.’ The new empire would prove hollow.

In Anderson’s view, the tendency to use the Peace of Paris in 1763 as the starting point of re
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though long overshadowed in the traditional historical narrative by the American Revolution, the Seven Years’ War, as Fred Anderson argues, is the most important event in the eighteenth-century North American history. Fought in the untamed wilderness which both France and Britain claimed, the struggle brought an end to the French empire in North America. Yet ironically in doing so, it sowed the seeds for the eventual collapse of Britain’s own empire in the Americas by expanding it beyond a manag ...more
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, a common rejoinder to whining about terrain was, "They fly airplanes to Maine, you know?" If you want to take on a tough guy task, it was implied, then either act like a tough guy and stop complaining or buy a plane ticket. I thought about the airplane to Maine while trudging through this book. Fred Anderson has written a pared-down version of Crucible of War ( at a very reasonable 288pp) called The War that Made America. I, however, scorned a moderate ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
inston Churchill called the Seven Year's War the first world war, and it can be argued that it was the first, in a string of five great power wars over 190 years, leading to World War II. But for most students of the modern world, especially Americans, who may be unaware that a world war, a great power war was sparked just outside of today's Pittsburgh, PA. If it is thought of, the Seven Year's War is remembered as nothing more than a prelude to the American Revolution. Fred Anderson, of the Uni ...more
David Russo
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really good book. Fred Anderson attempts to connect the impact of the Seven Year's War with the emergence of the American Revolutionary War. Anderson does an excellent job of including the writings and speeches of many persons living in the time period discussed so as to prove his arguments, and I especially enjoyed his use of maps of not only North America, but the world. This book is quite large... but NOT dense. The Seven Year's War, more commonly called the French and Indian War, as many d ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Carson Stones
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Revolutionary era was exceedingly complicated. What follows is my attempt to make sense of it through six books:

1) Crucible of War by Fred Anderson

2) The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff

3) Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama

4) The Oxford History of the French Revolution by William Doyle

5) The Campai
Theo Logos
`Crucible of War' is a tremendous achievement - a comprehensive, informative overview of The Seven Years War that is accessible while maintaining scholarly rigor. Prof. Anderson presents a sweeping, densely detailed, big picture view of the war in prose worthy of an exceptional novelist. In doing so, he very well may have created the best, modern, one volume history of the war available today.

Anderson writes that The Seven Years War was the most important war of the 18th century, not just a sort
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This book focuses on the North American theater of the Seven Years' War, detailing the socioeconomic causes of the war, the major campaigns in North America, and describes how he war changed the relationship between Great Britain and the North American colonies which will lead to the American Revolution. The European theater is discussed but only to show how it impacted strategic thinking by the British. Actions in India and Africa are briefly described, but mostly as context for how the overall ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Seven Years' War (to Americans the French and Indian War) was far more than an armed argument over the boundaries of the American colonies and the power of French traders amongst the Indians. It was, in many respects, a "first" world war, being fought in North America, Europe, the West Indies, India and the Philippines. It changed forever the balance of power between Britain and France. And it sowed the seeds of the American Revolution. Anderson's 746 pages of text and 80+ pages of notes bri ...more
James Murphy
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A reread.
Rob Roy
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I remember studying the 7 Years War (French and Indian) War in school, and thought I pretty well knew about it. This book delves into what was a far more complex, and poorly taught in our schools war. The Seven Years War was the prelude to our Revolution, and is therefore well worth studying. The author not only follows the battles and campaigns but also the politices through out the war, and then continues through the repleal of the Stamp Act. The stage is set for our Revolution. If you are a h ...more
Matthew Linton
Fred Anderson's massive synthesis of the Seven Years' War and ensuing imperial crisis is an impressive achievement borne from nearly two decades of historical research. Ranging from the beginning of English colonial settlements in North America and ending with the Stamp Act crisis, Anderson successfully navigates an incredible time span weaving the intertwined stories of English imperial dominance with French and Spanish decline and American Indian politics.
Combining the British, French, America
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I skimmed through this and took notes before my comps, and enjoyed the writing so much that I decided yes, I do want to read a 750 page history of the French and Indian War. Are you actually going to read this, though? Probably not. You are probably going to read the other book Anderson wrote about the same war, which is only 1/4 of the size (if you read anything on the topic). And that's fine.
Honestly, I kind of wonder why this book exists. I mean, it's a great book. It's witty, pleasant to rea
Ron Lavery
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love reading History written by a good writer. I also love it when I can learn something new. I have read a lot about American history including several books about the colonial era. This book was by far the best about the immediate pre-revolution era.
What I really liked is the way you could really get a feel for what motivated the people responsible for the "historic facts": All of the individual interests creating disagreement and turmoil within each colony, their inability to agree on much
James Hatton
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know about America's history, then this book is a must read. I've read a fair amount about America's history, and I'm frequently left asking the question, "But, why?" I know all histories try to answer that question, and some do a pretty good job of it, but no American history I'd read prior to this one answered that question, for me, about the years leading up to the American Revolution. I mean, American colonists revolted because they had to pay more taxes? Nonsense! That's stup ...more
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
This serious work of American history does not take the easy route. At over 750 pages, the French and Indian War is described in deeper levels of details and analysis that I ever thought possible. The French and Indian War has always been given short shrift in American History. Probably because it occurred before there was an America, and most of the well known heroes were British Generals. Many of which became the "enemy" during the American Revolution.

The author makes several attempts to port
Jim Graham
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
By bringing together the various colonies in their defence against the French, the British inproved the co-operation between them, and sowed the seeds of revolution that followed. Not only did British funds invigorate the local economies, and give them the structures they would eventually use against the British, but if it were not for the post-war tax, designed to generate funds for the development of the colonies, (and were never destined for the UK's coffers), our cousins might still be our b ...more
Mark Singer
This is one of the most complete and informative histories that I have ever read, and that is saying a lot. Anderson does an excellent job at explaining the Seven Years War (aka French & Indian Wars) in North America: its origins, duration, and effects. This is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the American Revolution, as well as 18th century European history, and the American Indians.
It was a great book about the events that proceeded (and Anderson asserts helped to bring about) the American Revolution while also touching upon the broader war between Britain and France throughout the world (Havana, the Philippines, India, Europe). But don't be fooled, this is mainly focused on the invasion of Canada and what would become the Midwest and the immediate aftermath.
Frank Theising
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-misc, favorites
This book is nothing short of a masterpiece. A thoroughly researched, excellently written, and comprehensive account of the Seven Years War (a.k.a. French and Indian War) in North America. Anderson’s historical analysis of the war and its ramifications is both brilliant and compelling. It is amazing that a conflict so consequential to the course of both American and world history has remained relegated to a mere footnote in history, just a hazy backdrop to the American Revolution. I highly recom ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this book! Ok, it's 700+ pages, but man, it moves.
Seven Years' War was a World War in every way, including the time frame of 12-13 years covered by this book.
Highly recommended.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
It's clear to me why this book is considered a definitive account of the Seven Years' War/French & Indian War and its aftermath. Anderson writes very well for military history (and government/political history) and the research is extensive and impressive. I don't think I was quite ready for this mammoth work, and so my rating of 3 stars more accurately reflects me than the content of this book. I read many biographies or human-driven histories, but this one was more focused on the military ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written for the popular reader and is very interesting. However, he does repeat the conventional wisdom on certain things that bugs me. For instance, suggesting that Braddock's defeat was the failure of eighteenth century European style warfare on an American battlefield when he failed to follow the military wisdom of the time in his defeat. Braddock was an incompetent and arrogant twit although very brave and if he had marched platoons through the woods like Bland's manual require ...more
Rob Prince
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a surprisingly good book...well researched, well written on the French and Indian War (called the Seven Years War more formally). I was taken in by the last part of the title "and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766). A few things about this war - it was not just in N. America but global (Europe, India, a bit in Africa too)...When it ended Britain began its rise to global hegemonic status, while France was knocked down a few notches (and from what I can tell, never really ...more
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book coping 1 4 Dec 08, 2015 02:54AM  
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Fred Anderson is professor of history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, He received his BA from Colorado State University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.