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The Seven Years' War (Essential Histories) [Hardcover]

Daniel Marston
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 April 2001 Essential Histories
The closest thing to total war before the First World War, the Seven Years' War was fought in North America, Europe, the Caribbean and India with major consequences for all parties involved. This fascinating book is the first to truly review the grand strategies of the combatants and examine the differing styles of warfare used in the many campaigns. These methods ranged from the large-scale battles and sieges of the European front to the ambush and skirmish tactics used in the forests of North America. Daniel Marston's engaging narrative is supported by personal diaries, memoirs, and official reports.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Ill edition (9 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579583431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579583439
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 17.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,492,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"A very useful resource, especially, but by no means exclusively, in school and college libraries...these books offer very useful standardised accounts and are presented in very attractive and approachable volumes."-"Reference Reviews

About the Author

Daniel Marston was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He completed both his BA and MA in History at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. The subject of his MA thesis was the performance of the British Army in North America during the Seven Years War. He is currently living in England, where he is working towards completion of a D.Phil in the History of War at Balliol College, University of Oxford --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Frustrating Disappointment 9 Jun 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It is rare that a book makes me really angry, but this succeeded so effortlessly that I feel compelled to write this review to warn its potential future readers. If you are looking for an introduction to the Seven Years War look elsewhere.
At best the narrative is confused and fragmented. The language and editing are consistently shoddy. For example on page 29 one finds: "The naval conflict was chiefly between the British and the French". Then later the same page one encounters: " The naval war was chiefly fought between Britain and France". Such poor quality is nothing less than an insult to the reader.
Some of the maps will require investment in a high quality magnifying glass to be of any use. I imagine that most coming across the genius of Frederick's manoeuvring at Leuthen for the first time will remain none the wiser. There is nothing wrong with using period maps but reproductions must be of a practical size. More than once the maps are located far from the relevant text. The illustrations are of the usual high quality one expects from Osprey, but they appear to have been scattered throughout the text at random and are poorly labelled.
The sole redeeming feature of this book is that it reminds one of high standard that Osprey has set with its other publications.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent overview of the Seven Years' War. One of the lesser known wars, but a good candidate for the first World War. It certainly changed the world at the time and laid the ground work for the next 150 odd years of history.

I found this book an excellent introduction to a war that I only knew bits abouts - Clive of India, Wolfe taking Quebec and Frederick the Great of Prussia. This volume brings together the widely dispersed actions across the globe. It is written with strong insight and good explanations as well as the usual commentary of miltiary and political actions.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and interesting 12 Jun 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Speaking as a non-historian (and therefore one of the book's intended audience), I found this book to be an excellent general history of a conflict that I previously knew little about. The author did a good job of presenting the various participants and theatres clearly and concisely, as well as succinctly outlining the (potentially confusing) political context in which the war took place. The illustrations and maps provided interest and important supporting information. I thought that this was more than up to Osprey's usual standard of quality, and overall a thorough and interesting exploration of 18th-century history and warfare.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent primer 9 Oct 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Daniel Marston's SEVEN YEARS' WAR is a well-researched scholarly account of that conflict. Marston tackles a broad and complicated subject in an comprehensible manner, producing an excellent introduction for any person unfamiliar with the Seven Years' War.
The account is split into several sections, addressing the causes of the conflict, the warring sides, the fighting, and the conclusion of the war. The fighting section deals with all of the various fronts of the war: North America, India, and Europe. Marston highlights the important battles and also focuses on important tactical innovations.
One of the greatest attractions to this book is Marston's in-depth and accurate research. Most books that are readable do not contain this level of scholarly investigation. In particular, on the conflict in North America, better known as the French and Indian Wars in the United States, Marston presents an account firmly backed up by rigorous archival research. Thus, this book represents a very readable yet academic introduction to the Seven Years' War.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easily navigable short history of the Seven Years' War 24 Nov 2005
By Brian Hawkinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Seven Years' War was a very important period. Marston has done a good job in creating a clear and coherent overall picture, using his very short (91 pages) history book to summarize the war.

Some of the cons of the book are that he hashes through the battles much too quickly, simply stating in a few sentences what happened and so on. He doesn't mention the main players, with the exception of a few of the generals, and leaves over the telling of the battle to be Britain versus France or Prussia versus Austria and so on. So the battles are explained in a very generic form.

The pros, though, outweigh the cons. The beginning chapter and the ending sections are great in that they help to explain some of the more mundane aspects, such as a soldier or nun's point of view from their journals. We see a summary in the end on how much the war cost and what the effect was on that country and its future. Additionally, the middle section (which covers the battles of the war) are broken apart by years, and then within the year it is broken down by either North America, Western Europe, Central Europe and India, which makes for a very concise and organized structure that is easily navigable.

This book did exactly what I wanted, which was to understand the Seven Years' War on more of an international level rather than the typically localized level of the North American continent (a much more deep and detail oriented history of the Seven Years' War could be found at _The Crucible of War_ by Fred Anderson). Although it skimped on the details, I have a springboard to look for further books. I would recommend only if you are looking for a summary of the war, especially in regards to both North America and Europe, otherwise try Anderson's book.
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Summary, but Tainted by anti-Colonial Bias 25 Aug 2001
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Osprey's new "Essential Histories" attempts to expand from its more narrowly-focused campaign and men-at-arms titles to provide a broader overview of major conflicts. In the Seven Years War (1756-1763), Daniel Marston has written a succinct but valuable overview of what was arguably the first world war. American readers, who are more familiar with this conflict as the French and Indian War, will appreciate this volume for the perspectives it provides in tying together all the various campaigns around the world. Major chapters include a background to the war and a brief overview of the military resources available to all sides (although it ignores the military resources of the Iroquois Confederacy). The bulk of the volume consists of a 61-page summary of the war, broken down in annual sections, that are further subdivided into regional (North America, Western Europe, Central Europe, India) headings. This is an excellent organizational structure, which increases the quick-reference value of the book. There are also short follow-up chapters that address the economic costs of the war and its political ramifications. A detailed bibliography lists primary and secondary sources used. Overall, this volume is a good piece of scholarship that will allow readers to follow the highlights of the conflict without getting bogged down in detail. The illustrations and maps that support the text are also quite good. The only troubling aspect of this volume is the author's not-too subtle bias against the participation of American colonials in the war. Although Marston was born in the United States, his attitudes reflect the contempt that arrogant British officials held toward the colonies in circa 1770. This bias is demonstrated in consistently inaccurate descriptions of battles in which colonials were engaged. In the Battle of Ticonderoga in 1758, the author states that, "the provincials attacked in the first wave and were easily repulsed. Abercromby then committed his regular troops." This description is false, because the provincial units pushed in the French pickets but were not "easily repulsed." Nor did Abercromby commit his regulars, because they attacked without orders and he lost control of the battle. The author's contention about the Black Watch's attack, that "after an hour of hard hand-to-hand fighting, the attack was called off," is also misleading. Only a few Highlanders made it to the French entrenchments and the attack failed because the unit was virtually destroyed. A similar example occurs during the Forbes expedition, when the author states that "on 14 September the British suffered a setback when the French garrison attacked their position, causing their provincial units to disperse.." This description is totally false, because the action on that date was caused by a British decision to send an advance guard ahead to seize Fort Duquesne, but the detachment was ambushed and badly defeated. That detachment was commander by a British regular, Major James Grant, and consisted of regulars and provincials. Obviously, there is the traditional pattern of British 18th Century historiography, which is to downplay defeats and blame the stupid colonials if you cannot avoid discussing "setbacks." This is the same kind of contempt for Colonial soldiers that British regulars were smirking about until they discovered otherwise at Bunker Hill. Furthermore, the author makes no effort to detail or discuss the immense efforts in raising troops to fight for the Crown, or the ramifications of widespread American military experience 12 years later when the Revolution broke out. Overall, this is still a very good volume for its size. American readers will appreciate the summaries of the campaigns of Frederick and those in Hannover, which are often ignored on this side of the Atlantic. However, Americans will be disappointed by the typical condescension toward Colonial military efforts.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Summary of the Other War 19 Feb 2007
By Mike Dillemuth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All in all, Daniel Marston does a fine job in summarizing this conflict. Most students in America learn about the French & Indian War. Few students realize that this war was really just one theater of operations in the larger Seven Years War. In this book, Marston provides a good overview of this other war. This is no small feat as the war encompassed four major theaters and lasted for nearly a decade.

As with all Osprey books, the chapters are broken down into the familiar sections of background, fighting, chronology, and the various portraits of civilians and soldiers. "The fighting" chapter is first broken down by year. Within each year, the author further breaks down the fighting by geographic theater, North America, Western Europe, Central Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. Clear geographic maps are located in the early part of the book. As the reader goes through each year, they are taken to three different continents. Remembering where a certain battle took place in relation to a previous engagement can be confusing. By referencing these geographic maps, the reader is able to keep up with the author. Of course, the fact that the reader even needs to keep up with the author is a bit of a negative.

Clear maps that show the disposition and movement of the opposing forces accompany some battles. For example, the maps of the Battle of Minden and the First Battle of the Plains of Abraham are in color and provide excellent detail. Unfortunately, the author used antique maps to support other battles. The maps of the Battles of Kunersdorf and Zorndorf are practically worthless from an information point of view. They are a nice addition as a form of art but provide no useful data on the battle itself. In some cases, the reader is unable to even see the map's legend.

The chapter on "The World Around War" provides fascinating information on the economic aspects of this conflict. Mr. Marston does an excellent job of illustrating how each country financed its war effort and the ramifications of those decisions. Finally, the author leaves the reader with a few gems in the last chapter. Most people learn that a major cause of the American Revolution was the issue of taxation. Here, the author shows how the seeds of discontent were sown well before taxation became an issue. He briefly mentions the Quebec Act of 1774 which gave certain rights to French Canadians based on their catholic religion. England also gave them administrative rights over the new lands in the Ohio Valley; a move that incensed the thirteen colonies.

Bottom Line: This book is a pretty good summary of what was clearly a world war. Some of the maps are weak and the constant change between theaters of operations can be confusing. Nevertheless, Mr. Marston should be given credit for covering such an expansive war as well as he does. All things considered, the book is well worth the time spent reading it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cliff Notes of military history 2 April 2006
By Hiram Grant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The "Essential Histories" series from Osprey could easily be compared to the Cliff Notes series. They'll give you a nice introduction to a topic you are not familiar with, but no real depth. Most volumns are under 100 pages; therefore, don't expect many "man in the trenches" stories.

This is a nice introduction to this war, in particular to someone interested in the wars involving North America. I can't say I found this volumn as interesting as some of the others, but I did learn from it.
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