A rich feast of well-told facts brings a war--skirted hastily in almost every history text--to vivid life. Lasting 70 years, it dragged the people of Europe into a conflict in the American wilderness, pitted Indians against the power of England in a last-ditch effort to oust white people from the continent, and set the stage for the struggle for independence. Martin gives the reader not only a history of Indians in America since the land bridge over the Bering Sea, but also a context for understanding the tenacity of the British and the French in the New World. Also, insights into Washington's first battles, the budding wisdom of Franklin, the inspired bravery of Pontiac, and other details are told with a fine eye for historic trivia--Franklin writes, ""Some seem to think that forts are as easy to take as snuff""; Washington rode with a pillow until he became accustomed to strenuous horseback forays; Pontiac invited Frenchmen to a feast of ""young beef,"" which proved to be a fricasseed English soldier. Altogether, then, a dense but very readable book, requiring thought and application. There is a lot of explicitly described gore (the Indians were not a mild bunch when angered; the white men also retaliated with some violence); and a chart or time-line would help, as would an index. But, still, for the student or the lover of history of any age, this is a clear and detailed account.