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The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

-- Sun Tzu

The Colonial Wars, 1689-1762

Peckham, Howard. The Colonial Wars, 1689-1762. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965. 266pp.

The late Howard Peckham offers a wonderful, if dated, history of the series of conflicts between Britain, the American colonies, and France, commonly known as the French and Indian Wars. His writing reflects an earlier style of history, before the invasion of political correctness that is somewhat refreshing. While referring to Indians as savages is a little much, Peckham is not afraid to describe the atrocities committed by Indians against both sides, which is often ignored today.

Peckham's work is a detailed account that is a great read. He devotes a chapter to each of four conflicts: King William's War, Queen Anne's War, King George's War, and the French and Indian War. He examines the causes, major battles, and conclusions of each conflict. Peckham focuses on both major battles, as well as the conflicts between whites and Indians, with great detail that makes the reader fell as if they are at the battle.

In addition to the examination of each war, Peckham analyzes the different forces in the conflicts. He first examines the overall comparison between the Europeans and Indians, then turns to the issue of American forces early during the period covered. Chapters also focus on the Royal Americans, the British regiments comprised of Americans, the difference between British regulars and American militia, Virginia militia versus French militia (this section deals with Braddock's defeat), and the ranger tradition in America, including Roger's Rangers.

Though dated (published in 1965), Peckham's work is well-researched for its time. Peckham has many great insights into this period and has written other books on the period. If looking for a great book on colonial America, consider The Colonial Wars.


Added:  Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Reviewer:  Daniel Sauerwein
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