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Title : montcalm and wolfe
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ISBN : 929539
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 669 Pages
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montcalm and wolfe Reviews

  • Douglas Dalrymple
    2019-05-02 09:46

    “..The forest was everywhere, rolled over hill and valley in billows of interminable green, - a leafy maze, a mystery of shade, a universal hiding place, where murder might lurk unseen at the victim’s side, and Nature seemed formed to nurse the mind with wild and dark imaginings. The detail of blood is set down in the untutored words of those who saw and felt it. But there was a suffering that had no record, - the mortal fear of women and children in the solitude of their wilderness homes, haunted, waking and sleeping, with nightmares of horror that were but the forecast of an imminent reality.”In the late 1750s the French loosed their Indian allies against the borders of the English colonies to burn, pillage, torture, murder, and cannibalize the settlers, deterring them (they thought) from any notion of continued westward expansion into the valley of the Ohio, and from the temptation of trading with tribes encompassed by French influence. The English colonies at the time were unused to cooperation, jealous of one another and consumed by political divisions. They necessarily looked to the mother country for help against the enemy, but resented the help that was given. This was the beginning of the Seven Years War which, if given its due, might be called the first true world war. Though it began in wilderness corners of the New World, it told the fates of four continents. By ensuring the fall of New France, it set the stage for the War of Independence fifteen years later. It’s hard to imagine there could ever have been a United States of America without the English victory cemented by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.We more commonly know that portion of the Seven Years War fought on American soil as the French and Indian War. Parkman’s telling of it marks the grand culmination of his epic multi-volume history of France and England in North America. The book does not disappoint. It is, to borrow a term I usually cringe at, masterful. His nineteenth century prose is perfectly tuned, touching the ear by turns like a creek purling over stones, like a cry in the woods, or like a canon shot. The marshaling of detail and documentary evidence is skillfully accomplished, the narration propulsive, making seven hundred pages feel more like three hundred. Parkman’s characterizations of Moncalm and Wolfe themselves, of course, but also of Vaudreuil, of Dieskau, of Bigot, of Shirley and Dinwiddie, of Benjamin Franklin and the young George Washington, of Amherst and Abercromby, of Frederic of Prussia, Madame de Pompadour, Maria Theresa, and of Pitt in England, make a canvas of fascinating depth and diversity.Though longer than most of his others, Montcalm and Wolfe stands easily with the very best of Parkman’s other histories, with Pioneers of France in the New World, The Jesuits in North America, and La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West. For its relevance to the world we know today, it is probably his most ambitious and successful book. Anyone interested in the history of the early modern era, and of American colonial history in particular, will want to read it.

  • Jim
    2019-05-07 06:57

    Many of the great 19th century American historians -- such as Francis Parkman, John Lothrop Motley, and William H. Prescott -- are good enough to be considered as literature. This, the last volume of Parkman's six-volume history of the French in North America, is probably the best of all. It covers the French and Indian War from the point of view of the French, the American colonies, the British, the Indians, and the Acadians (who were French but not integrated with the Quebecois). The title is a bit of a misnomer, as the book is about far more than Montcalm and Wolfe, with intriguing pictures of such participants as George Washington, Robert Rogers of Rogers' Rangers, the Acadian conspirator-priest La Louttre, and the corrupt politicians surrounding the governor's office in Quebec.

  • Dergrossest
    2019-05-21 08:38

    The British and French struggle for the continent is told in a grand old style in this book with a cast of characters and story out of a Hollywood movie. We are introduced to a young George Washington who learns lessons which he will skillfully apply less that 15 years later against the British and read about a final epic battle between the brilliant but hand-cuffed leader of the French, Montcalm, and the coldly efficient leader of the British, Wolfe, fighting it out on the Plains of Abraham in sight of Quebec. The only problem with this book is its very dated style which is mostly fun, but sometimes ponderous. Not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

  • Alan
    2019-05-04 06:52

    I recall aloudreading three pages to my daughters, on the Plains of Abraham, Quebec Cite. These were the pages on the Battle of Quebec, and the titular generals' mutual decease there. Great writing, worthy the great event upon which the fate of a continent--or half the continent--depended.

  • Philip Lee
    2019-05-07 01:40

    Montcalm and Wolfeby Francis ParkmanAbout a dozen years ago I finally got round to reading James Fenimore Cooper's “Last of the Mohicans”. A shocking tale, I thought, and one that portrayed the Huron - a native people of North America - as utter savages. Let's be clear about that term (which Parkman uses throughout his “Montcalm and Wolfe”): savage denotes those who would practice cruelty as a matter of course; force prisoners of war to 'run the gauntlet'; and - in prima facie evidence of the accusation - cut the scalp from a wounded man, woman or child; all the while, glorying in such deeds as their natural right. Cooper's book is pretty lurid in this respect.As someone who spent a rather severe winter living in a North American Tipi – though in the Southern English countryside – I had gained something of a first hand respect for the so-called Red Indians because of their close-to-nature lifestyle. Not that I was surprised by Cooper's account of the Huron, but I have to say I was expecting redeeming qualities. Which, of course, are present in the honour and humanity of Uncas and his father Chingachgook (the last of the Mohicans). But the savagery of Magua and the other Huron is not redeemed by such of the 'Indians' deemed 'friendly' by Whites. Besides which, Cooper was probably guilty of romanticising both the good and the evil of his characters; and it's not surprising to learn (from his own words) that his take on native America was derived from books rather than living in Tipis or Wigwams (whatever they are). In contrast, Parkman had first hand experience of life with native Americans (the Sioux), though he was in the habit of calling even the Christianised ones 'savages'.Another reason for picking up Parkman's book was the puzzle of Canada. I have often wondered why it was that whereas the United States, with their historic family connections to the British Isles, could fight for their independence - while Canada, only newly wrestled from the French, should fight to remain loyal to the crown? This is not something you can Google in an hour or two. Last year, we had a couple of Quebecois students couch-surfing with us and one of them was of native stock. Exchanging ideas in broken French and English we learned where they stood on independence for Quebec and - for that matter - on Scotland. While Canadians are not known for their warmth or sense of humour, these boys were everything you'd hope for in the next generation: well brought up, alternative looking, concerned & talented. But you'd hardly guess we shared the same royals. It's a strange old world in which countries and nationalities are not what they used to be.As you can see, whenever I read a book, I want it to engage with the world I live in; even if it's a history book written more than a century ago. Parkman's “Montcalm & Wolfe” was first published in 1884, but when I came across a 1984 centenary edition – hrdbck. gd-cnd. – in a second-hand book store here in Bursa, I had no hesitation buying it, knowing I would be motivated to read it in a short time – and start making connections.The title is a bit of a misnomer, as General Montcalm - commander of the French forces in New France - does not make an appearance in the first 200 pages; and to meet General Wolfe - who led the main assaults on Louisville and Quebec – the reader must get deep into the second half of the book. In the meantime, a dozen & more characters of equal or near-equal stature appear. Prominent amongst those who, like Montcalm and Wolfe, lost their lives on the fields was Braddock, a conventional English general mortally wounded at the battle of Monongahela. Of still greater prominence is George Washington, who was a volunteer captain with Braddock's tragic expedition to Fort Duquesne. Parkman's method is to give rounded portraits of all his main protagonists, so the title of this book (one of a series he wrote on the British and French in North America) functions as a token of its contents rather than a summary.Herein lies one of the faults with Parkman's shameless historicism. He is forever partisan towards the Americans in the field (if not at home), usually against the French, often against the Canadians & Indians, and ultimately (despite admiring glances) against the British. For example, over Duquesne: he rates Washington's good sense above Braddock's heroism, praising the American's advice of splitting the column in two, with the Englishman leading a flying wing into Beaujeu's experienced Canadian woodsmen. But he then fails to point out one result of this very strategy leads the British - after being ambushed - to come crashing back into the rear guard. And whereas Braddock is then portrayed as a hero for rallying the regulars - implying it is all a folly anyway - Washington is allowed to criticise the British soldiers for a friendly-fire incident without comment. The tendency to style Washington as a dashing volunteer in the British army (as though his home state was never under any threat from New France) didn't start with Parkman; but he, as the virtual founder of American historical studies, does not seek to be objective about the famed Virginian soldier & statesman.To return to stereotypes for a moment. James Fenimore Cooper candidly admitted to knowing little about native Americans beyond what he had read. Parkman, however, spent much time with the Sioux tribes of his own day (roughly a century after the events portrayed in this book). However, whereas Cooper is careful to give a balanced picture of native life, creating the idea of the noble savage (later to be taken up by others such as Longfellow), Parkman has no praise for native peoples. He refers to them as savages but never ascribes honour. Furthermore, several times he points out that it is often the Christianised tribes that commit the worst atrocities, scalping men, women & children in homesteads and forcing prisoners to run the gauntlet. In the notorious murder & scalping of the wounded at Fort William Henry, followed by robbing & the massacre of the column, the natives are portrayed as nothing short of devils incarnate.The reverse of this is echoed in Parkman's partisan portrait of Washington. Whereas modern historians tend to question the value of Washington's strategic role in the Braddock expedition, Parkman has nothing but praise for the man who was to become first US president. As I said above, he reports Washington's disgust at the confusion of the British regular soldiers without comment. Moreover, Parkman does not much question Washington's earlier role in the death of the French officer de Jumonville (an incident that had led to the war), though it was widely believed at the time that Washington had been directly involved. Parkman's history, then, is the typical written-by-victors approach, which then becomes subject to revision and reconstruction.Parkman's treatment of Montcalm & Wolfe and their exploits, is less open to reëvaluation – being more straightforward accounts of character and battles. Both were professional soldiers, the credibility of whose loyalties and fidelities has never needed questioning. The majority of this book, then, is a slow build-up to the dramatic events portrayed in its final hundred or so pages: the siege of the French citadel-port of Louisville turning the tide for Britain; then its forces sailing up the St Lawrence River and laying siege to Quebec; and (almost) finally the dramatic, literally cliff-hanging dénouement as French power crumbles.Parkman is good at giving the economic & social roots of New France's failure, contrasting the colonial styles of the British & French. He does not do irony, however, and draws few parallels with what happened within two decades of victory at the Heights of Abraham (1763), or half a century later in the War of 1812. More recent historians have put those events in perspective (for example, Peter Snow's “When Britain Burned The White House”). But Parkman's style is engaging enough, for a Victorian, and his copious notes – including many archival extracts – make for an entertaining read (if you like this sort of thing). The copy I have has page after page of contemporary illustrations and, published in 1984, was a centenary reprint of the original edition.

  • Alec Hastings
    2019-05-23 08:38

    A long, detailed history of the French and Indian War (part of the Seven Years War) by one of the pre-eminent 19th century historians in the United States. It is not a light and entertaining read but for those wanting in-depth knowledge of this war, it is one of the best known, thoroughly researched accounts.

  • Seamus
    2019-04-27 02:44

    When I picked this up at Barnes & Nobel in 2003 my life was changed!I'm sorry but this is going to be long dysfunctional ramble...but no one is forcing you to read it so-Although I knew this elephant existed prior to reading it in 2003, I had been so busy with work and kids that I had never attempted to start to read it. How many books can you say that about! I have always loved the American Revolution (AR) since my early childhood. Growing up in Bergen County, Northern New Jersey, my home town had events occur in it during the American Revolution. I hated reading! I hated it with a passion! I just could not comprehend how sitting with a horrible book that was boring, was worth the time and effort. Then I started to hear about the AR in grade school and found out that the Continental army stayed just 3 blocks from my house in 1780 and that I was able to walk where Washington among others did. Reading finally made sense! How exciting it all seem to me. Other kids had Star Wars and Super man, I had the protagonists from the AR! I heard of the battle for New York (a battle that does not get it's proper due respect in comparison the other major battles of the AR) and my mind would have me fly over NY watching the events unfold like it was using present day computer animation techniques. My parents then bought a summer home in the Catskills and we would hike trails and swim in creeks that were gouged from solid rock. We visited Fort William Henry @ Lake George one summer...I was forever hooked.It was not until college that I started to appreciate the French & Indian War (F&I) as more then just a fore thought to the AR. The training ground for so many. The fact that there were so few people on the continent yet and they were all fighting for their existence and the way of life they felt was best while dealing what weather and mother earth threw in their way, seemed so romantic to me. I knew the people were not any better then the ones standing next to me in the present day, but the fact that they aspired to be as good a citizen as they could while traveling huge distances with technology that was devoid of any mechanical just seemed to be the best version of humanity that I had knowledge of.Reading Parkman's famous tome, brought me to another level in terms of interest and knowledge. He might be heavy handed at the Catholics or Natives,women or historical impartiality but he lived an interesting life himself and his dedication to the topics he wrote about, spoke to me in terms of own life long interest in the period. The style of the book with the concept of listing what each chapter was going to cover, seem so fun to me. It allowed for easy reference and research. The characters were brought to life to me. I felt I was there with Wolfe as the salty spray hit his boots at Louisburg. I became an instant fan of Montcalm's and while it was not lost on me that these were real people struggling and dying, I was mesmerized with all of the imagery and pomp.As a result of this book, I made a mental decision to start to visit as many of the actual battlefields as possible (F&I, AR & Civil War). I bought and read as many books as I could that had to due with both topics. I started attending re-enactments. I attended multiple public lectures pertaining to these periods. The War College & American Revolution seminars at Fort Ticonderoga, local history club lectures around Bergen County.While real life is always getting in the way, and needs constant attention, I spend as much time as I can learning of these moments in history with a zeal and passion. Fred Anderson's Crucible of War was a incredible book as well and my copies of Lossing's Pictorial Field Book of the American Revolution may be more impressive then a Barnes and Noble copy of Montcalm and wolfe. But this book was the one that got it all started for me.

  • Rick
    2019-04-30 05:42

    With France, Great Britain, Prussia, and Austria battling each other to reshape Europe in the years after 1740, the struggle over their colonial outposts often became set piece battles with implications far beyond the borders being fought over. So it was with Great Britain and France squaring off for control of the North American continent. This would evolve into a major component of the Seven Years War, the North American portion being referred to as the French Indian War. The global import of this war is often overlooked in consequence of the War for Independence that followed less than 20 years later. Parkman’s 1884 work — Montcalm and Wolfe — is the story of the French Indian War with all the back story laid out for perspective. Three interesting themes were prevalent: one, that the French were such a bankrupt society under Louis XV that the government did not bother to properly fortify its claims in New France with sufficient settlers and resources; two, most of Louis XV’s representatives (other than Montcalm) that were sent to organize and defend the territory were more interested in lining their own pockets than establishing the King’s claims; and three, that the military leaders for France usually fought from a defensive position and rarely took the offensive. The narrative itself is much bigger than just Montcalm and Wolfe. The reader doesn’t get heavily involved with the named combatants until chapter 19 or so. Parkman’s setting of the stage encompasses hundreds of pages, but there are many interesting sidelights: we see Benjamin Franklin and George Washington helping the British; we see Native American Indians supporting first the French and then the English; we see French Governor General Vaudreuil working at cross-purposes with French military General Montcalm. All-in-all this is a great story, written 100 years after the event but just a few years after Canada consolidated its provinces into a Confederation. And of course, out of the French Indian War came the seeds of the United States; for the time being, British power was ascendant, France’s in decline. If you ever wondered how one province of Canada became uniquely French-speaking and Catholic, here is your answer.

  • Bryan
    2019-05-03 04:48

    I'm torn about this book. It really is entertaining and engaging, but the writing style really took me a while to get used to. After the first 100 pages, I wanted to throw in the towel, but I stuck with it and felt a sense of accomplishment after finishing it. The prose describing the battles and landscapes really is terrific and is what made me give it 5 stars. The moral of the story is to go in prepared for a rewarding and entertaining, but sometimes demanding, read.

  • Francesca Forrest
    2019-05-24 03:55

    I didn't read this cover to cover--focused on the sections having to do with Fort Ticonderoga, but also read the chapter introducing Montcalm, and also the one on the Siege of Quebec. The writing was beautiful--it was written in 1884, and the language is just wonderful. Even though 1884 is more than 100 years after the French and Indian War, there are still so many close connections between Francis Parkman (author) and the events of the war: he speaks to descendants of the people involved, gets quotes from people who heard stories from people involved, etc. The appendices include the legend of Duncan Campbell, whose murdered cousin appeared to him as a ghost and told him he'd die at Ticonderoga. His troops--who knew about the ghost's warning--tried to keep from him that they were approaching the fort--but eventually it comes out, and of course, he does die there. The appendices also have the French texts of the letters Montcalm wrote his wife--so intimate! Francis Parkman didn't think much of the Indians, so we have lots of downputting remarks about savages, which is pretty depressing, but even there, sometimes you can see through the prejudice to discover interesting things (like the amount of time taken putting on war paint). Anyway, I loved the book.

  • John
    2019-05-14 04:36

    I decided to read this book based on a recommendation by a friend when I was visiting Montreal and Quebec City who recommended it as a good guide to the French and Indian War. The book is very well written and extensively details all the battles fought. However, what it does not do a good job of is analyzing the political and social context for the French and Indian War and the personalities of the characters involved and the motivations behind their actions. If you are looking for a blow-by-blow account of the battles, this is your book, but if you are looking for a deeper understanding of the causes and the motivations behind the actions, this book will leave you with only a cursory understanding of the same.

  • Eric
    2019-05-24 03:50

    A fun read. It is often considered the premier early history of the French & Indian War, and since it was originally published in 1884, so very much of it is so politically incorrect by current standards, that sometimes I just couldn't believe some of the things he had just wrote about either the French, or the Indians. But that is part of what made reading it so much fun. Some of the paragraphs were so poetic, that I read them out loud for other friends, and often the response was "Wow!". I'll read more of his stuff.

  • Mike Rogers
    2019-05-24 07:59

    "The" must read for anyone interested in learning about the Seven Years War. Although the writing can be dry at times, the story is fascinating. I took it off my Dad's bookshelf when I was in high school and devoured it. Additionally, if you're ever going to upstate New York or Eastern Canada you should read this book. Lake Champlain, the Plains of Abraham, and Fort Ticonderoga will come alive in your imagination.

  • John E
    2019-05-07 06:30

    At 624 pages it is quite a journey. It seemed that I would never get out of the dark, everlasting primal forest of North America (and it seemed that the English would never get out of it either). Excellent history even if it was written in the rather florid style of the nineteenth century. Parkman was avidly pro-British and didn't appoligise for it. Much time was spent on the early years of the war and only about page 400 do the Brits finally begin to prevail.

  • John
    2019-05-24 07:40

    I approached this book with some trepidation, given that it had been written in the 1880s. Boy, was I wrong -- Montcalm & Wolfe is one of those timeless treasures. It is extremely well-written, not dry at all, and the lessons imparted in the course of the story are still valid today. Parkman is the recognized authority on pre-Revolution America, and he describes the wild North America of the 18th century with true verve. I highly recommend this book to any student of American history.

  • Billfaceb
    2019-05-05 07:50

    Really extraordinary writing as well as a very detailed picture of the period. It is clearly written to different historical standard but the writing is at such a high level and the narrative is so engaging that it will be a pleasure for anyone interested in history. The book also makes me want to go back to Quebec, and not just for the restos.

  • Fred R
    2019-05-17 05:48

    Parkman turns out to be one of the most accomplished prose stylists in 19th century America. This book, the culmination of his chronicles of France in the New World, achieves a dramatic and moral grandeur worthy of Plutarch.

  • Javier
    2019-05-21 04:00

    A extraordinary book in its care (for the age) of detail to describe both the French and the English in a balanced manner. It loses some strength at the end though

  • Chuck Leonard
    2019-04-27 02:33

    Written in 1884 this book has been a key source in many of subsequent treatments of the French and British conflict in the Americas.