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Friday, June 15, 2018

STRUGGLE for a CONTINENT: THE WARS of EARLY AMERICA (The American History Series) by John Ferling

Published in 1993 by Harlan Davidson, Inc.

This unique volume looks at the near-constant state of war that existed in one part or another of the English colonies, from the first attempt at colonization in 1585 until the end of the French and Indian War in 1763.

The first quarter of the book deals with the frequent wars that erupted between the English and the Native Americans that they encountered. Similar patterns emerge as disagreements and misunderstandings become full-fledged brutal and desperate wars of survival in colony after colony, with the exception (at first, at least) of Pennsylvania. 

The rest of the book is devoted to the English struggle against other colonial powers, namely the Spanish and the French. Spain was already a declining power at this point so they posed a minor threat when compared to the ever-growing French Empire. A great part of the book is spent discussing the French threat emanating from Canada towards New England and what is now the states of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.

Time and again the colonies are brought into wars that started in Europe. The colonies became a sideshow to the war and many times their hard won gains were given away on the bargaining table in order to make a peace treaty work for Europeans.

Ironically enough, the last of these wars, the French and Indian War, was clearly started by a young colonial soldier named George Washington who stumbled into a group of French soldiers while leading troops in Western Pennsylvania and was forced to surrender them at Fort Necessity. This fight led to the removal of France from Canada and sowed some of the seeds that became the American Revolution.

This is a very informative, concise volume. Well done.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon.com here: STRUGGLE for a CONTINENT: THE WARS of EARLY AMERICA.

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