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

Overview

"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 ...
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Overview

"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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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News
As always, [Leckie] describes the maneuvers, battles, and results in telling detail with a cinematic style, and his portraits . . . are first-rate.
The Daily Reflector
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.
Library Journal
Prolific historian Leckie (From Sea to Shining Sea: From the War of 1812 to the Mexican War; The Saga of America's Expansion, LJ 11/15/93) examines the epic struggle of the British and French for the ultimate control of North America. Beginning with Columbus, Leckie takes us through nearly 300 years of exploration, Colonial wars, and conflict culminating in the French and Indian War. The result is a soundly researched narrative of American history from 1492 to 1763. The interaction of settlers, Indians, traders, kings, and politicians is presented clearly, but this is no book for the casual reader. One learns how both personal and nationalistic feelings influenced politics and warfare at the time; like the other periods he has documented, Leckie calls this period in our history a "saga." The book would serve well as a textbook on pre-Revolutionary America and is appropriate for serious students and researchers. Recommended for large public libraries and special collections in American history.--David M. Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY
Kirkus Reviews
This latest entry in Leckie's ever-expanding series of popular military histories of the US (Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II, 1995, etc.) displays both the author's idiosyncratic research methods and his tenuous grip on the principles of historiography. Beginning with a lengthy, superfluous account of the career of Christopher Columbus, Leckie proceeds by identifying the principal players and events in the violent pageant of the struggle for dominion in the New World—especially in Canada, a territory dismissed by Voltaire as "a few acres of snow." Although Leckie relates colorful anecdotes about such compelling figures in the French and Indian Wars as Samuel de Champlain, Count Frontenac, George Washington, and Marquis Montcalm (he includes some harrowing and gory accounts of the tortures administered by the American Indians to unlucky Jesuit missionaries and slow-footed farmers, some of whom were roasted and eaten), he fails to achieve an effective narrative balance. He does not appear to have any sort of principle to guide his choice and arrangement of details. A sentence that begins with Columbus in Reykjavik ends in 1950 with the US Navy in the port of Seoul; halfway through a perfunctory chapter called "Heroines of Both Frontiers," Leckie abruptly drops his discussion of courageous women and returns to battles and brutality and Real Men. Some sloppiness in writing and editing leave stylistic faults such as clichés ("kill two birds with one stone"), and use of awkward folksy locutions ("not worth a polliwog's tail"). Finally, there are weird diatribes against the "starry-eyed American liberals" of today and against Oliver Cromwell, whom he twice identifies asa "hymn-singing swine."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471390206
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/11/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 962,177
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT LECKIE is the author of over thirty books on military history, including George Washington's War: The Saga of the American Revolution, None Died in Vain: The Saga of the Civil War, and most recently, Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II.
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Table of Contents

Partial Table of Content:

A CONTINENT IS DISCOVERED.

Christopher Columbus.

The Colonizing Contest Begins.

PRELUDE TO WARS.

Samuel de Champlain.

War in the Wilderness.

King Louis XIV of France.

Iroquois Revenge and King Philip's War.

WAR OF THE GRAND ALLIANCE, 1688-1697: (KING WILLIAM'S WAR).

Count Frontenac.

Frontenac and the Fur Trade.

Canada the Quarrelsome.

Sir William Phips Wins and Loses.

WAR OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION, 1701-1714: (QUEEN ANNE'S WAR).

Anne Succeeds William.

WAR OF THE AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION, 1740-1748: (KING GEORGE'S WAR).

The "Milishy" Take Louisbourg.

SEVEN YEARS' WAR, 1756-1763: (FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR).

George Washington.

Defeat and Death of Braddock.

Washington: Patriot, Planter, Politician.

Retribution.

Selected Bibliography.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2002

    Great narrative history

    Leckie gets little respect from the academic historians, but he writes extremely well and has a knack for the telling anecdote. His portraits of major characters-- Pitt, Braddock, etc.-- are worth the price of the book. If you're writing a scholarly article on the French & Indian War, maybe you should stick with Anderson (also a great read!), who does in fact offer more primary sources and more analysis. But if you're looking for great narrative history that really comes alive, you won't be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2001

    One Star is Still One Too Many

    The story of the long and often brutal conflict between the various European states (Great Britain, France, and Spain), the colonists in North America, and the native Americans for control over the area that later became the United States and Canada deserves a serious, up-to-date reexamination. This book is not it. Author Robert Leckie has written a number of sound historical studies over a long period, and many readers will be attracted to it by his reputation. They will be bitterly disappointed. There is no primary research cited and the secondary sources are invariably old and reflect both interpretations and biases that have been largely discounted. Aside from serious questions about the quality of the source material, the book is badly organized. The early chapters are a brief survey of the Columbus voyages which offer little new about the Spanish colonization efforts and do not connect logically to the succeeding chapters which focus on the conflict between the British and French. Leckie's quick overview of British colonial society ignores both the complex variations between the different mainland colonies and also ignores the way those societies evolved from the 17th into the mid-to-late 18th centuries. Instead of a solid synthesis of recent scholarship on the development of colonial societies, the existing native American societies, and the complex interactions between them, Leckie offers mish-mash of generalizations (most of them contradicted by recent scholarship). His discussion of the military issues within the British colonies is particularly bad and seems based as much on myth and folklore as on actual historical research. Skip this book and hunt up a copy of Douglas Leach's Arm's For Empire (also now getting a bid old, but far better), any of the recent works by Francis Jennings, or Fred Anderson's excellent study Crucible of War.

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