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Carr (All Brave Sailors), former director of Mystic Seaport, believes the seeds of the American Revolution were first sown in the mid-17th century, when Britain began to exert control over colonies that had mostly been left to tend and fend for themselves. In 1651 the first of the anti-free trade Navigation Acts was introduced, and England began suspending representative legislatures. These and a multitude of slights (real and imagined) bred long-simmering resentments and periodic revolts; a failed rebellion in 1689 was sparked after Massachusetts's charter was revoked. Carr focuses most of his account on the wars between Britain and France, and Britain's postvictory surrender to the French of Louisbourg, on Nova Scotia-which had been taken at great cost in American lives. A century of "British disrespect, mismanagement, and exploitation," Carr summarizes, "prepared the minds of the colonists for revolution." Carr's exploration of this background to the War of Independence is fascinating, but leaves an important question unanswered: if Britain was so oppressive, then why did a third of Americans remain loyalto the Crown? 25 b&w illus., 3 maps. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.