"A Few Acres of Snow": The Saga of the French and Indian Wars

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9780471390206:

"Leckie is a gifted writer with the ability to explain complicated military matters in layperson's terms, while sustaining the drama involved in a life-and-death struggle. His portraits of the key players in that struggle . . . are seamlessly interwoven with his exciting narrative." -Booklist"As always, [Leckie] describes the maneuvers, battles, and results in telling detail with a cinematic style, and his portraits . . . are first-rate."-The Dallas Morning News"Leckie's accounts of battles, important individuals, and the role of Native Americans bring to life the distant drama of the French and Indian Wars."-The Daily Reflector

With his celebrated sense of drama and eye for colorful detail, acclaimed military historian Robert Leckie charts the long, savage conflict between England and France in their quest for supremacy in pre-Revolutionary America. Packed with sharply etched profiles of all the major players-including George Washington, Samuel de Champlain, William Pitt, Edward Braddock, Count Frontenac, James Wolfe, Thomas Gage, and the nobly vanquished Marquis de Montcalm-this panoramic history chronicles the four great colonial wars: the War of the Grand Alliance (King William's War), the War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne's War), the War of the Austrian Succession (King George's War), and the decisive French and Indian War (the Seven Years' War). Leckie not only provides perspective on exactly how the New World came to be such a fiercely contested prize in Western Civilization, but also shows us exactly why we speak English today instead of French-and reminds us how easily things might have gone the other way.

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Review:

Historian Robert Leckie is renowned for his combative prose and pugnacious opinions concerning the major triumphs and tragedies of the U.S. armed forces, and fans will not be disappointed in A Few Acres of Snow, in which he tackles Britain's conquest of North America. Beginning with Europe's first contact with the Americas, Leckie lays a solid geopolitical foundation for his discussion of the various conflicts that tore across Canada and the northern American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. Leckie betrays his Francophilia with extensive court gossip and decadent anecdotes of the European elite; the most detailed accounts of colonialism concern New France and the efforts of its military governors, traders, and priests to wrest order from a landscape imperiled by Iroquois attackers, British invaders, and, perhaps most fatally, corruption from within the governing body itself. (In his concluding chapter on Montcalm's defeat on the Fields of Abraham, Leckie speculates that Quebec's governor, Vaudreuil, might have deliberately sabotaged his nation's defenses out of monetary self-interest.)

A Few Acres of Snow also rejects recent scholarship on the French-Indian Wars by Richard White and Robert Merrill, which has revised traditional Native American roles from that of bloodthirsty savages to active participants in the Northwest Territory's political economy. Leckie's account often reads like a cantankerous, politically incorrect throwback to an era of historical writing where the Iroquois spent most of their time torturing Jesuits and roasting babies while the European civilizations, corrupt and flawed as they were, ultimately claimed an unruly empire. --John M. Anderson

From the Inside Flap:

"A Few Acres of Snow" The Saga of the French and Indian Wars Robert Leckie King Louis XV of France was in conversation with Voltaire when he received the dreadful news that Canada was no longer French, but British. Aware of his sovereign’s anguish, Voltaire spoke to him consolingly: "After all, Sire, what have we lost—a few acres of snow?" To read this expansive book is to recognize Voltaire’s wry consolation as one of the greatest understatements in history. Indeed, "A Few Acres of Snow": The Saga of the French and Indian Wars—which spans seven tumultuous decades of pre-Revolutionary American history—comprises much more than its subtitle suggests. By the time readers reach the climactic seven-year struggle of the French and Indian War, acclaimed military historian Robert Leckie has already illuminated in unrivaled detail the brutal combat, passionate conviction, and rugged determination behind the preceding three great colonial wars between England and France: the War of the Grand Alliance (King William’s War), the War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne’s War), and the War of the Austrian Succession (King George’s War). As in his previous bestselling historical sagas, Leckie imbues this latest with his celebrated sense of drama and eye for colorful, cinematic detail. His graphic, up-close depictions of countless battles waged through the trackless American wilderness speak powerfully to the horror and misery of the violent struggle. "A Few Acres of Snow" is particularly effective for its close attention to the far-reaching political and cultural origins leading up to the North American conflict—hearkening all the way back to the twilight of medieval times. From the increasing fragility of Christianity’s supremacy in an age of discovery and expansion, to the intricate machinations and power plays of kings and queens, to the emergence of an astonishingly lowborn illiterate named Christopher Columbus, Leckie provides perspective on exactly how the "New World" came to be such a fiercely contested prize in Western civilization. Packed with profiles of all the major players—including George Washington, Samuel de Champlain, William Pitt, Edward Braddock, Count Frontenac, James Wolfe, Thomas Gage, and the nobly vanquished Marquis Montcalm—"A Few Acres of Snow" culminates brilliantly in the savage, decisive confrontation at Quebec’s Plains of Abraham. Here the book affords readers an intimate look at the poignancy and paradox of Wolfe’s triumphant death. Also, Leckie compellingly suggests for the first time that Montcalm died knowing full well that he had been betrayed. In the long view, Leckie’s sweeping account shows us exactly why we speak English today instead of French—and reminds us how easily things might have gone the other way.

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Book Description John Wiley and Sons Ltd, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Leckie is a gifted writer with the ability to explain complicated military matters in layperson s terms, while sustaining the drama involved in a life-and-death struggle. His portraits of the key players in that struggle . . . are seamlessly interwoven with his exciting narrative. -Booklist As always, [Leckie] describes the maneuvers, battles, and results in telling detail with a cinematic style, and his portraits . . . are first-rate. -The Dallas Morning News Leckie s accounts of battles, important individuals, and the role of Native Americans bring to life the distant drama of the French and Indian Wars. -The Daily Reflector With his celebrated sense of drama and eye for colorful detail, acclaimed military historian Robert Leckie charts the long, savage conflict between England and France in their quest for supremacy in pre-Revolutionary America. Packed with sharply etched profiles of all the major players-including George Washington, Samuel de Champlain, William Pitt, Edward Braddock, Count Frontenac, James Wolfe, Thomas Gage, and the nobly vanquished Marquis de Montcalm-this panoramic history chronicles the four great colonial wars: the War of the Grand Alliance (King William s War), the War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne s War), the War of the Austrian Succession (King George s War), and the decisive French and Indian War (the Seven Years War). Leckie not only provides perspective on exactly how the New World came to be such a fiercely contested prize in Western Civilization, but also shows us exactly why we speak English today instead of French-and reminds us how easily things might have gone the other way. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780471390206

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