The Best Books On The Seven Years’ War in North America

The Books I Picked & Why

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

By Fred Anderson

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

Why 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.


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The War That Made America

By Fred Anderson

The War That Made America

Why 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.


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

By Stephen Brumwell

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

Why 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.


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Redcoats

By Stephen Brumwell

Redcoats

Why 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.


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The Forts of New France in Northeast America 1600-1763

By René Chartrand

The Forts of New France in Northeast America 1600-1763

Why 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.


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