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.