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Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  26 reviews
On May 28, 1754, a group of militia and Indians led by twenty-two-year-old major George Washington surprised a camp of sleeping French soldiers near present-day Pittsburgh. Washington could not have known it, but the brief and deadly exchange of fire that ensued lit the match that, in Horace Walpole's memorable phrase, would set the world on fire. The resultung French and ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published January 17th 2006 by Walker & Company (first published January 1st 2005)
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Jerome Otte
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
A well-researched and well-written history of the Seven Years’ War in North America. Fowler covers a vast subject in a way that is easy to comprehend, and does a fine job putting the war into its global and European contexts.

Fowler demonstrates an easy command of the subject matter, his writing is gripping and his rendition of the key battles is vivid. Most of the book is focused on the perspective of the British and French, and his treatment of the Canadians and Indians is adequate if not as i
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
William M. Fowler Jr. is a scholar, teacher and author who has produced a highly readable history of the conflict which reverberated far from the North American colonies. As Fowler recounts, one of the more interesting aspects of the war is how the shooting between Colonial-British militia, led by George Washington, and the French in the Ohio valley sparked the conflict which eventually led to British control of Canada.

This conflict not only preceded the Revolution by twenty years, it figured h
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-american
In my quest to become an expert on the French and Indian War, I think I have found the definitive source. Fowler not only presents a very readable text, he also offers a time line, a list of characters (in alphabetical order) with bios, and interesting illustrations. The only thing I could ask for that he didn't present would be more maps and perhaps more color. (Perhaps the hard cover edition has more color?).

Overall, a great source and an interesting read.
Dylan Jones
Oct 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: america
For some reason this period of American history reminds me of fall. Excellent coverage of Native American dynamics and the fragile balance of empire in the extreme periphery of the age. Could use more on the colonial-imperial dynamic but that's what Alan Taylor is for. ...more
Feb 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a pretty straightforward history book with a focus on the American theater of the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War). It thankfully started with some of the "pre-war war" events, like Major Washington's pre-emptive attack on the French. The book gave me a decent grasp of the war and had some interesting details, especially about individual battles such as the sieges of Quebec and Montreal. At other times I was confused by lack of detail or generalizations, especially in regards to ...more
Don LeClair
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A very readable book on an era that doesn't get a lot of attention. He makes an interesting case that rather than being a purely North American conflict, it was the really the first world war. The book also provides excellent coverage of what happens to the Native Americans, during this era and how much harder it got for them after this. ...more
Bob Lundquist
Jun 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
Ah, yes, the French and Indian War. One of the least understood and ignored conflicts of history. The British and French rivalry brought to America. No surprise putting these two on the same continent with no channel between them erupted in arguably the first world war. I could not find a single book on this war in a local major bookstore and do not remember where I got this copy. Anyway, supposedly, George Washington (yes, that George Washington) started the war in 1754 by attacking a French en ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The author of this book seemingly had a hard time reconciling his mission to write an overview of the French and Indian War proper (i.e., the American campaign of the Seven Years' War) with his desire to emphasize the global character of the larger war. While I initially thought this would lead to structural problems, he struck a good balance between the central narrative and the framework. I found it to be a lively and comprehensive treatment of the war that clearly explained its origins and im ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good overview of the French and Indian War - maps are a little lacking - I would recommend this book for a newcomer to the field.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent read about the French and Indian War/The Seven Years War.
Tony Heyl
Jun 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I picked up Empires at War after visiting the Heinz History center in Pittsburgh and seeing the display on the French and Indian War. Part of the interest to me is how it is connected so much to Pittsburgh, and it's fun to not only notice the location but see names like Pitt, Braddock and Duquesne which become important places in Southwest PA.

This book is filled with information, which is good and not so great. I liked learning about the war, but it felt very dry at times and I would have to sha
Kevin Symmons
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have long been a serious follower of our American History and find myself interested in some of the more obscure time periods and events that shaped our country. This book covers one of those periods--what we commonly call the French and Indian or the Seven Years War... though the time over which the troubles occurred between Great Britain and France for control of North America lasted far longer than seven years... a fact which Mr, Fowler points out. One of the most significant things which h ...more
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Though largely overlooked by historical standards, the French and Indian War was a key part of the Seven Years War involving all the major European powers. In Empires at War, William Fowler will convince you that -- with fighting in Europe, America, Africa, India, and the Caribbean -- this was, indeed, the first world war.

My keen interest in this "Wilderness War" probably caused me to bump the rating up a notch. After all, I can look out my office window and see the staging area for some of the
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
A very readable summary of a complex piece of American history. The most interesting aspect of this chapter of American history is its foreshadowing of the coming Revolutionary War. The colonists tolerated the British presence as a means of protecting the colonies' ever expanding frontiers. Once the borders were settled as a result of the peace made between the French and British (everything to the east of the Mississippi would from then on be British controlled), the highly politicized colonies ...more
Stuart Hatfield
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent accounting of the war.

This account of the French and Indian war is one of the more suckable ones out there. Delves in the details while at the same time giving you a bit of background. Although the authors style could be considered cold you have to remember that this is a book more concerned with the facts and actions than the stories. It is good for what it is.
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Actually a 4 star book, with one star deducted as I feel the beginning of each chapter should have a map detailing the area of operations. Other than that it is well researched, and a bit eye opening in spots as to relations with the native tribes.
Ned Leffingwell
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a nice account of what the author refers to as the first world war. He does a good job of describing the code of honor that was present at the time. All aspects of the war are dealt with in a fairly concise manner.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, fiw
Decent book about the French and Indian war.
Charles Cummings
It had some potential, but failed to deliver. It wasn't detailed enough and the writing was a bit haphazard. ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good history of the French and Indian War. I didn't know that George Washington had a major role in starting the thing.

new vocab. peculations
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written book about the French & Indian War, covers the French side better than most.
Dec 11, 2010 added it
Very Good read. Probably a good starting point for a person interested in diving into this deep subject.
Mark Levandoski
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Good general overview of this time period. Fleshes out some of the locations visited growing up in NY State.
John T.
Dec 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Colonial French Indian War was peripheral to strategic interests for empires between English, French, German and Spanish monarchs.
Terrance Yount
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Feb 15, 2019
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May 04, 2012
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Oct 29, 2008
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William Morgan Fowler Jr. is a professor of history at Northeastern University, Boston and an author. He served as Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society from 1998 through 2005. He earned his BA from the University of Indiana in 1967 and his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

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