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Paperback Montcalm and Wolfe : The French and Indian War Book

ISBN: 0306806215

ISBN13: 9780306806216

Montcalm and Wolfe : The French and Indian War

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Book Overview

Francis Parkman thought of Montcalm and Wolfe (1884) as his masterpiece, and that estimate has prevailed for more than a century. At its heart lies the gripping story of the struggle between France and England for control of North America, the French and Indian Wars. Parkman marshals facts and anecdotes to make us eyewitnesses to this confrontation on both sides of the Atlantic, from the royal courts to the colonial fields and forests, where war began...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Beautiful prose - Questionable objectivity

Francis Parkman (1823-1893) was the first great American historian and today the most prestigious award in the field bears his name. "Montcalm and Wolfe" represents volumes six and seven of his celebrated study on the Anglo-French conflict in North America. This book is more than an excellent history of a seminal but largely forgotten conflict; it is nothing less than a work of literary art and very much a piece of American history itself. Even if you have little interest in the Seven Years' War or the colonial-era in general, Parkman's writing alone is reason enough to put "Montcalm and Wolfe" on your reading list. Here is one notable, but by no means unusual, example of Parkman's narrative abilities, which describes the journey of colonial troops through the marshes around Lake Oneida in upstate New York in 1755: "Thither the bateaux were dragged on sledges and launched on the dark and tortuous stream, which, fed by a decoction of forest leaves that oozed from the marshy shores, crept in shadow through depths of foliage, with only a belt of illumined sky gleaming between the jagged tree-tops. Tall and lean with straining towards the light, their rough, gaunt stems trickling with perpetual damps, stood on either hand the silent hosts of the forest. The skeletons of their dead, barkless, blanched and shattered, strewed the mudbanks and shallows; others lay submerged, like bones of drowned mammoths, thrusting lank, white limbs above the sullen water; and great trees, entire as yet, were flung by age or storms athwart the current - a bristling barricade of matted boughs." Parkman's descriptions of Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela, the eviction of the Acadians, the siege of Louisbourg and the Battle of Quebec, to name just a few, are so vivid and intense that the images are seared into the reader's mind. I had read about these events several times before, often by skilled historians, but reading Parkman is like being there. Parkman's work is built on exhaustive primary research and his extensive quotes from the personal letters of the leading figures on both sides of the conflict are fascinating and illuminating. That said, his history is hardly objective. To begin with, he is unabashedly Anti-Catholic. With the exception of the nurse-nuns at Quebec, everyone associated with the Church in Canada is described as completely venal and manipulative. In fact, he attributes much of the war - especially the barbarity of the French-Indian allies - to the actions of local priests, who in turn received tacit support from Versailles. He also wears his anglophilia on his sleeve. He spends much time and effort defending the British actions in displacing the entire Catholic population of Acadia in 1755: it was the priests that fostered opposition to allegiance to King George II; the British actions in Acadia went above-and-beyond to ensure the protection of religious freedom among the Acadians; all the British asked was neutrality; the Acad

A classic about the struggle for domination of N. America

I was impressed by the work and analysis that Francis Parkman gave to the French-Indian War and the background of the war between England and France that spilled over to the North American continent. The background of the conflict was very interesting and I learned some points about it that I hadn't known before. Not only does Parkman give detail about the struggle in the present day United States, but also the struggle for Canada. The jealousy and rivalry between England and France was enourmous and in its path alot of victims were made such as the Native Americans and English and French Colonists. Two cultures that were very similiar, yet could not exist peacefully with each other, even across the Atlantic. The British may have won this war but their troubles were only beginning in America. This book was written over a century ago, yet it's language by the author and text make it a very interesting read and is considered a classic. Very Highly Recommended to all who want to know more about the history of Colonial North America.

Parkman?s masterpiece about the French and Indian War.

This is simply a wonderful work of history! Francis Parkman is considered by many scholars to be the greatest American historian ever. "Montcalm and Wolfe" is his masterpiece, written in 1884 as the final volume of his multi-volume work "France and England in North America." It tells the story of the French and Indian War, which is probably the most historically decisive war ever fought on the North American continent. Parkman writes with precision, eloquence, and objectivity. With his vivid and fast paced narrative, he demonstrates a wonderful flair dramatizing history. At the same time, his tremendous knowledge about this vast and complex subject is evident on every page. For me, the most fascinating parts of this book were the chapters which described the conflict for Acadia, and the ultimate forced evacuation of the Acadians by the British; Braddock's defeat; and the battles of Louisbourg and Quebec. Parkman's descriptions of these key events, and the personalities behind them, make them seem to come alive.Parkman writes in the romantic style popular in the late nineteenth century; yet, his prose is of such high quality that it never seems dated. In fact, as I was reading, I found it difficult to remember that "Montcalm and Wolfe" was written 116 years ago! I highly recommend this book, which is already a timeless classic, as essential reading for those interested in learning more about the French and Indian War.

Vivid descriptions, unparalleled research

Francis Parkman was a master storyteller. The French and Indian War is often seen simply as a precursor to the American Revolution. Simply put, Parkman illuminates this conflict between England, France, Prussia, Russia, etc. and more specifically between England and France for control of North America as the pivotal conflict of the 18th century. It truly was the first global conflict, the consequences of which are masterfully explained.Parkman deftly describes the political manuevering of the English and French in order to win Native American allies. With respect to Native Americans, Parkman is not often kind. They are often described as 'savages' or 'barbarians' in reference to atrocities committed during the course of the war. Parkman often does not give as much attention to atrocities committed by the European powers, especially the English. However, Parkman did not have the lens of modern political correctness through which to view such behavior. It was a different time and Parkman should not be condemned for the prejudices of his time. The descriptions of the natural beauty of the wilderness in which this conflict raged are timeless. One almost feels as if they are on the scene when Howe's army set off down Lake George to attack Montcalm at Ticonderoga. The mental picture one gets from Parkman's descriptions is absolutely vivid! Battle descriptions are just as exciting with detailed descriptions of troop movements and fighting techniques of the Europeans, Native Americans, and New England and Canadian militias.The book is well annotated and meticulously documents all sources used during its preparation. The appendices contain many curious stories of individual soldiers and politicians. In all, this was a great read. Anyone interested in learning about this momentous conflict that eventually resulted in the destruction of French and English colonialism in North America and the birth of the United States should start with Montcalm and Wolfe.

More than History

Parkman's Montcalm and Wolfe is more than history, it's American Literature. His prose flows elegantly and distinguishly across each page. The reader can definitely tell that Parkman was most passionate about this work, he spent most of his life researching and writing it. The care and attention he gave to the work shows. Granted this is probably not the best book for a high school student on the French and Indian war, but for someone who has read and enjoys to read history this is definitely worth a go.
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