A lively account of a key year in world history.,
This review is from: 1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World (Paperback)
This was the first time I had read a book whose theme were the events of a year rather the telling of a certain story. I have noticed how this idea has become a sub-genre of historical writing. What I discovered is that McLynn was a marvellous guide round events that I had vaguely heard of but were beautifully put into context.
Indeed I had no idea how (with hindsight) how the year 1759 was to in many ways shape world history for the next 200 years or so. It's also fascinating that while the Battle of Trafalgar is world famous the battle of Quiberon bay which in many ways was as important and certainly harder to execute is an obscure event to be found in history books only.
The only problem with this book, and indeed others in this genre, is of course events are rarely neatly wrapped up in a year. There is the build up and aftermath to consider and it is particularly odd to concentrate on one year in a war known as the Seven Years War. It would be a bit like doing "The hundred years war...the first 30 years". I was left wanting more.
So what is here is excellent, the way McLynn is able to write so fluidly about naval conflict off the coast of France and then leap into the icy wilderness of operations in the frozen wastes of Canada and beyond goes to show his considerable skill as a historian, it would just be nice to get his views on the whole conflict.
If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter