THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR by Donald Barr Chidsey


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Even the confident Mr. Chidsey, who can convincingly motivate historical personages, is hard put to it to make much structural sense out of the untidy and bloody skirmishes of the French and Indian War: ""to all intents (France and England) in America as in India, were at war all the time."" Very different in their modus vivendi, the French and English were naturally at odds. Whereas the British were generally contemptuous of the Indian, the French had tremendous concern for their souls and their trade. The British were ""bulldozing"" settlers; the French dribbled their settlements through the wilderness. The author reconstructs in tentative order the several confrontations led off by young George Washington's attack on a relatively small French force of thirty-five men (intent unknown) in Virginia-Pennsylvania, with his forty men. Whether or not Washington had ""just started a war"" is a matter of controversy, and there are those who will dispute Chidsey's estimate of the characters and abilities of Braddock, Amherst, Governor Shirley, but as always, Chidsey's research is imaginatively selective, his generalities stimulating if disputable.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1969
Publisher: Crown