The best books on the war that made America

Jason Born Author Of Quaker's War
By Jason Born

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?

Crucible of War is a readable, modern-day classic. It is unparalleled at teasing out the details, causes, and ultimate effects of the French & Indian War. It is terrific at fleshing out hundreds of colorful characters in relatable terms so that we may appreciate the struggles overcome and victories won. Crucible of War makes it easy to put yourself in our forebears’ shoes.


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Louisbourg: Key to a Continent

By Fairfax Downey

Louisbourg: Key to a Continent

Why this book?

This is the most obscure book on my list. But I truly enjoyed reading it. Not only was it utterly informative about the town and fortress of Louisbourg, the largest fort outside of Europe in its day, but Mr. Downey wrote his work in an almost beautiful way. He made countless references and drew many parallels to other eras and conflicts. After reading, I better understood what it was like to be trapped inside those walls during a siege. Likewise, I shivered as I considered the conditions suffered by the besiegers outside.


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Washington: A Life

By Ron Chernow

Washington: A Life

Why this book?

Ron Chernow hasn’t just written about Hamilton! His biography on George Washington is a masterpiece. Totally relatable. Totally readable. And since the French and Indian War paved the way for the Revolution, this is a perfect link between the two conflicts.

Washington starts out as a proud major in the Virginia militia mourning his elder brother’s death. He is inexperienced, but eager to learn. He is callow, but brave. He has many blind spots, but can see with clarity in areas that remain dark to better-educated men. Throughout his life, Washington learns and develops. Like the best of men, he leaves this world having grown in his understanding and standing. This is a great book!


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France and England in North America

By Francis Parkman

France and England in North America

Why this book?

When the deities dedicated to the history of the French and Indian War got together to recommend their own list of the best books on the war that made America, they made Francis Parkman’s multi-volume work required reading. And the good news is that even if they had not, it is worth diving into headfirst.

The French and Indian War is often overshadowed by the American and then French Revolutions that followed on its heels. Yet, neither of them would have ever happened without the completely lopsided British victory in the first. Parkman, writing in the Nineteenth Century, was among the first scholars to shed light on the immense impact wrought by the fight for control over North America in the 1750s. His work is massive as it digs into the very origins of both countries’ humble beginnings and rapid growth in the New World. But fear not! If his original seven volumes sound too daunting, there are other excellent versions available.


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The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757

By James Fenimore Cooper

The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757

Why this book?

The Daniel Day-Lewis movie is wonderful. But it is different enough from the book, that to rely on it alone is insufficient. You must read it. The tale has everything in the movie and more. This was the first adventure book I read as a kid. Natty Bumppo taught me how a man could be both strong and humble. His Mohican family taught me how to never give up – even when faced with unstoppable odds. And while it is not 100% accurate in every detail, it is a tale that takes all aspects of colonial America and jams it into one book. If you read it, you gain three important things: 1. An understanding of just what those early pioneers had to endure. 2. An entertaining weekend. 3. An appreciation of just how crude our modern writing and reading has become.


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