My favorite books on the Seven Years’ War in North America

Why am I passionate about this?

For 23 years, I was a staff historian at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. In the decade that followed, I worked for Parks Canada on other French colonial and Acadian sites in Atlantic Canada. Along the way and since, I wrote hundreds of articles and 21 books. Some of those books have won prizes, and the government of France honored me by making me a chevalier of its Ordre des Palmes académiques.


I wrote...

Endgame 1758

By A.J.B. Johnston,

Book cover of Endgame 1758

What is my book about?

The French stronghold on Cape Breton Island, strategically situated near the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, was a major economic and military stronghold in France’s quest for empire. The dramatic military and social history of this significant fortress, seaport, and community are woven together in this gripping biography of the colony’s final decade, presented from both French and British perspectives.

Endgame 1758 is a tale of two empires in collision on the shores of mid-18th-century Atlantic Canada. The magnitude of the struggle and its uncertain outcome comes to life in this account of Louisbourg’s inhabitants and the nearly thirty thousand combatants arrayed against it. How and why the French colony ended the way it did, not just in June and July 1758, but over the decade that preceded the siege, is a little-known and compelling story.

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The books I picked & why

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

A.J.B. Johnston Why did I love this book?

This book is indispensable reading for those who want to grasp the great sweep of events during the Seven Years’ War in North America (better known to some as the French and Indian War). Anderson’s book has a rich and vivid narrative, which is all the more remarkable because the story he presents can be complex. He begins with a skirmish in the Pennsylvania backcountry, and soon moves on to reveal the various chains of events in different parts of the continent that ended in a pivotal world conflagration. Anderson skillfully weaves together the military, economic, and political motives of the participants on all sides and demonstrates how the forces unleashed in the Seven Years’ War changed the nature of empire in North America.

By Fred Anderson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Crucible of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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.

Beginning with a skirmish in the Pennsylvania backcountry involving an inexperienced George Washington, the Iroquois chief Tanaghrisson, and the ill-fated French emissary Jumonville, Anderson reveals a chain of events that would lead to world conflagration. Weaving together the military, economic, and…


Book cover of The War That Made America

A.J.B. Johnston Why did I love this book?

For any who might feel that Anderson’s 900-page Crucible of War might be a bit too long, the historian thoughtfully produced this 382-page book on the same topic. There’s less detail, obviously, but Anderson still covers essentially the same ground and does so once again in highly readable fashion. It’s a journey in which Anderson explains how the conflict destroyed the French empire in North America, overturned the balance of power on two continents, altered the roles of Indigenous peoples, and contributed toward what a generation later would become the American Revolution. The book is well illustrated.

By Fred Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War That Made America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 vast conflict that, between 1755 and 1763, destroyed the French Empire in North America, overturned the balance of power on two continents, undermined the ability of Indian nations to determine their destinies, and lit the "long fuse" of the…


Book cover of Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe

A.J.B. Johnston Why did I love this book?

Most historians see the 1759 siege of Québec as the ultimate battle in the Seven Years’ War. The pivotal character in that real-history drama was Major General James Wolfe, who died just as the battle on the Plains of Abraham was won. The story of Wolfe (and his French counterpart Montcalm) and the titanic struggle they were involved in has been told many times. What Stephen Brumwell adds in this multiple award-winning book is a fascinating biography of the figure at the center of it all. The author follows Wolfe from childhood to death and readers don’t want to miss a thing. It’s a brilliant, fast-paced, highly readable book.

By Stephen Brumwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paths of Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER: 2008 C. P. STACEY PRIZE (Best book in Canadian Military History) WINNER: 2008 DISTINGUISHED BOOK AWARD, SOCIETY OF COLONIAL WARS Ugly, gangling, and tormented by agonising illness, Major General James Wolfe was an unlikely hero. Yet in 1759, on the Plains of Abraham before Quebec, he won a battle with momentous consequences. Wolfe's victory, bought at the cost of his life, ensured that English, not French, would become the dominant language in North America. Ironically, by crippling French ambitions on this continent Wolfe paved the way for American independence from Britain. Already renowned for bold leadership, Wolfe's death at…


Book cover of Redcoats

A.J.B. Johnston Why did I love this book?

The Seven Year’s War was much more than a few famous names and a few celebrated battles. For any who want to get into the nitty-gritty of ordinary soldiers’ lives during the Seven Years’ War—on the British side—I recommend this book. It examines the experiences of the 'redcoats' between 1755 and 1763. Brumwell wrote it for a more academic readership than Paths of Glory, but it is still very readable. It explores the British Army's distinctive society and has lots to say about the ordinary soldiers who are usually written about with vague generalities. In this study, one reads about their experiences in combat, their occasional captivity among the Indigenous peoples, the women associated with the British Army, and the fate of veteran soldiers.

By Stephen Brumwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Redcoats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the last decade, scholarship has highlighted the significance of the Seven Years War for the destiny of Britain's Atlantic empire. This major 2001 study offers an important perspective through a vivid and scholarly account of the regular troops at the sharp end of that conflict's bloody and decisive American campaigns. Sources are employed to challenge enduring stereotypes regarding both the social composition and military prowess of the 'redcoats'. This shows how the humble soldiers who fought from Novia Scotia to Cuba developed a powerful esprit de corps that equipped them to defy savage discipline in defence of their 'rights'.…


Book cover of The Forts of New France in Northeast America 1600-1763

A.J.B. Johnston Why did I love this book?

Some readers want to see history as well as read it. Thankfully, there are many books about the Seven Years’ War that offer loads of illustrations, both from the era and produced more recently by illustrators. René Chartrand is the author of many such books, one of which is this one about the forts of New France. The author and illustrator present in-depth information about such French forts as Chambly, St. Frédéric (Crown Point), Carillon (Ticonderoga), Duquesne (Pittsburgh, PA), Ouiatenon (Quebec) and Vincennes (IN). As with all of Chartrand’s books, this one enriches our understanding of the Seven Years’ War, in this case by looking more carefully at the French side.

By René Chartrand,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Forts of New France in Northeast America 1600-1763 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'New France' consisted of the area colonized and ruled by France in North America. This title takes a look at the lengthy chain of forts built by the French to guard the frontier in the American northeast, including Sorel, Chambly, St Jean, Carillon (Ticonderoga), Duquesne (Pittsburgh, PA), and Vincennes. These forts were of two types: the major stone forts, and other forts made of wood and earth, all of which varied widely in style from Vauban-type elements to cabins surrounded by a stockade. Some forts, such as Chambly, looked more like medieval castles in their earliest incarnations. Rene Chartrand examines…


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Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

By Robert W. Stock,

Book cover of Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

Robert W. Stock Author Of Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

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Why am I passionate about this?

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What is my book about?

Me and The Times offers a fresh perspective on those pre-internet days when the Sunday sections of The New York Times shaped the country’s political and cultural conversation. Starting in 1967, Robert Stock edited seven of those sections over 30 years, innovating and troublemaking all the way.

His memoir is rich in anecdotes and admissions. At The Times, Jan Morris threw a manuscript at him, he shared an embarrassing moment with Jacqueline Kennedy, and he got the paper sued for $1 million. Along the way, Rod Laver challenged Stock to a tennis match, he played a clarinet duet with superstar Richard Stoltzman, and he shared a Mafia-spiced brunch with Jerry Orbach.

Me and The Times: My wild ride from elevator operator to New York Times editor, columnist, and change agent (1967-97)

By Robert W. Stock,

What is this book about?

An intimate, unvarnished look at the making of the Sunday sections of The New York Times in their pre-internet heyday, back when they shaped the country’s political and cultural conversation.

Over 30 years, Robert Stock edited seven of those sections, innovating, and troublemaking all the way – getting the paper sued for $1 million, locking horns with legendary editors Abe Rosenthal and Max Frankel, and publishing articles that sent the publisher Punch Sulzberger up the wall.

On one level, his memoir tracks Stock’s amazing career from his elevator job at Bonwit Teller to his accidental entry into journalism to his…


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