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"French and Indian War Book Recommendation?" Topic

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Paqu7314 Mar 2011 1:20 p.m. PST

It's time to kick-start a new era and a new lead Mountain.
What to read to enlighten myself about French and Indian War?

John Leahy14 Mar 2011 1:25 p.m. PST

Get the Osprey Compilation book 'Empires Collide' and Canadian Wargamer's Habitants and Highlanders.



redmist112214 Mar 2011 2:16 p.m. PST

Second what John Leahy posted…


basileus6614 Mar 2011 2:39 p.m. PST

Fred Anderson's "Crucible of War" is the best history of the FIW, in my opinion.

War In 15MM14 Mar 2011 2:43 p.m. PST

For pure flavor of the times, Allan Eckert's Wilderness Empire is a great read.

Early morning writer14 Mar 2011 3:11 p.m. PST

I powerful second for both Crucible of War and Wilderness Empire, both exceptional works for getting the "feel" of the period. The Osprey's are more basic and H&H is a set of rules with minimal background information but lots of good scenarios, and playable. But with all four items recommended so far, you'll have a strong start.

And it is a great period to game with tons and tons of options on how to do it. I do it in 15 mm with more than 800 painted figures and still painting – but not adding any more. That would be slightly crazy. Have fun.

Jeremy Sutcliffe14 Mar 2011 4:21 p.m. PST

For a rattling good, but factual read, try White Devil by Steven Brumwell on Rogers Rangers

sharps5415 Mar 2011 9:29 a.m. PST

I recommend Crucible of War and Pierre Berton's two book series The Invasion of Canada and Flames Across the Border.

Stafford, VA

Fergal15 Mar 2011 1:40 p.m. PST

I have been reading Crucible of War and highly recommend it also.

I just finished "War on the Run" which is the life story of Robert Rogers, and an exciting and great read. It gives great descriptions of his feats, raids, and daily life of soldiers at the time. Great for Skirmish ideas, or to just flesh out the period. I'll review it soon on my blog.

Virginia Tory16 Mar 2011 4:38 p.m. PST

Stephen Brumwell's _Redcoats_ is a great book for getting the flavor of the British Army of the period.

Paqu7318 Mar 2011 12:40 p.m. PST

Thank you guys for your recommendations so far. I ordered a bunch of them already.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2011 10:45 a.m. PST

Crucible is a great book, but the standard for the period is still Montcalm and Wolfe by Parkman.

tirofijoisback31 May 2011 9:19 p.m. PST

This is a fascinating period. White Devil is a good read; try getting hold of a copy of Robert Rogers journals in thier original form from Leontaur; Brumwell's Redcoats is also excellent. For other first hand sources get Narratives of the French and Indian War – volumes 1 and 2. Another easy to read and atmospehric narrative history is Braddock's March by Crocker.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2011 2:36 p.m. PST

The best books for Braddock are Ill Starred General, and Kopperman's classic, Braddock at the Monongahelia. If the Crocker book in the one that theorizes the Indians had rifles, take your copy to your local window and throw it out. ;-)

Thomas Mante02 Jun 2011 3:11 a.m. PST

"If the Crocker book in the one that theorizes the Indians had rifles, take your copy to your local window and throw it out. ;-)"


I fear it is Crocker who iterates that and a lot of other nonsense, despite having been advised by an 'expert'. I would go with your suggestions of Kopperman & Ill Starred General for the Braddock expedition (of course there is whole sub gnere of Braddock Expedition literature that could fill a lifetime!.

Anderson's 'Crucible of War' does a good job of putting the whole war into context and not skipping detailed narrative. A worthy successor to Francis Parkman's works which still have some value (i.e The Conspiracy of Pontiac, Montclam & Wolfe).

Brumwell's works are always worth a read, in addition to 'Redcoats' & 'White Devil' he has written a biography of Wolfe. For Ranger Related material Burt Garfield Loescher's three volume History of Roger's Rangers is indispensible. As to Rogers' Journals I prefer the version edited by Tim Todish from Purple Mountain Press to the Leonaur edition. The Leonaur 'Narratives of the French & Indian War' volumes provide easy access to some useful material.

There is a wealth of material from C18th through early C20th material on the web summarised usefully by TMPer Adam from Lancashire:


Quite literally what has been mentioned so far by everyone is the very tip of the iceberg. Good hunting!

docdennis196802 Jun 2011 8:41 a.m. PST

This is an immense period for the written word. Not as much as WWII or ACW , but the SYW/FIW/AWI has scads of good stuff from basics to severely detailed! Good luck!

Gallowglass03 Jun 2011 9:42 a.m. PST

I'd second many of the recommendations above, and add:

America's First First World War: The French and Indian War, 1754-1763


La Marine: The French Colonial Soldier in Canada, 1745-1761


Redcoats, Yankees and Allies: A History of the Uniforms, Clothing and Gear of the British Army in the Lake George-Lake Champlain Corridor, 1755-1760


tirofijoisback13 Jun 2011 12:43 a.m. PST

New book on the siege of fort william henry on amazon


historygamer Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2011 2:50 p.m. PST

Wow, how could you beat "Betrayal?"

tirofijoisback15 Jun 2011 8:13 a.m. PST

Betrayals is very well researched, but it is not the most entertaining book to read. There is so much discussion of facts and figures that the atmosphere has little chance to build. This new book is intended as a general / narrative history. It is more character and event based than Betrayals, which I would consider an academic history.

Another clue as to why the book is worthwhile (hopefully!) is in the subtitle 'A Year on the Frontier' – this new book follows the participants(the 35th, Provincial militia, Indians, French regulars and Canadian militia) through training, camplife, councils and skirmishes for a year before the climax of the siege and subsequent massacre.

tirofijoisback16 Jun 2011 8:21 a.m. PST

Why are you so sure that the Indians didn't have rifles? (I'm not suggesting they did, just asking how you can know they didn't – rifled barrels were available in this period, so why not?)

RockyRusso16 Jun 2011 10:07 a.m. PST


I have posted on this in other threads. It wasn't that they could not, it was that rifles are not the way you think of them!

The really short version is that rifling quadruples the cost of the weapon. Most indians in this era had trouble affording the cheap trade muskets let alone a hand crafted rifle. If they captured one, the problem becomes the ammo being different in calibre.

THEN, in most of the world, rifles use a slightly oversize ball, which is hammered down the barrel. Mistakes cause breech failure. This means very slow reload times and a novice untrained rifleman is actually likely to lose a hand.

While the american innovation involved using an undersized ball and ticking to seal the gap, this was a new idea that even other "modern militaries" did not pick up upon until AFTER the French and indian war.

There could have been? Sure, but no evidence, and unlikely all fit here. Or as my friend likes to illustrate "what if Hannibal had a piper cub".


historygamer Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2011 10:50 a.m. PST

"Why are you so sure that the Indians didn't have rifles? (I'm not suggesting they did, just asking how you can know they didn't rifled barrels were available in this period, so why not?)"

So where would they have gotten them? The Indians had been mainly trading with the French, trade that was all very controlled. The French had no rifles to trade. English trade had only been of late, on any significant scale. All their trade was forward deployed. How would they get rifles there? No roads for wagons? Where did they come from? The English had trade muskets and dog lock muskets for the Indians. Who repaired the Indian's weapons? Certainly no white man would. Rifles are much less robust than trade muskets.

The few German gun makers in what is now central PA certainly would not have given or traded them away. Too expensive. Many frontier settlers did not even own any firearms. Read, "Breaking the Backcountry" or any of the books that report militia showing up without arms.

It is fine if he says something like that, but perhaps would be more credible if he had some facts to back them up. The facts of what English traders traded Indians for furs is pretty well documented. The fact that few people carried rifles is well documented. Indians carrying rifles in the 18th century is not.

So, that puts the burden on the author to prove his ascertion. He did not. I suspect he was trying to explain away the horrendous casualties of the British at Braddock's defeat. Too bad he didn't really understand what happened at the battle, per the British special formations that gooned it all up.

basileus6618 Jul 2011 11:25 a.m. PST

Thanks for the heads up on Crocker. I was tempted to order it from Amazon. You have saved me some money!

tberry740301 Jan 2012 7:23 a.m. PST

To Everyone that posted:

I am just getting into the period (what with the forthcoming new releases from Two Hour Wargames) and was looking for source material.

Thanks for the great list of material. This is a prime example of what makes TMP great.

You might also be interested in Osprey release this month:

Tomahawk and Musket French and Indian Raids in the Ohio Valley 1758

This is part of their Raid series (RAID 27).

Thanks again,


historygamer Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2012 3:25 p.m. PST

I looked up the title and here was the writeup:

In 1758, at the height of the French and Indian War, British Brigadier General John Forbes led his army on a methodical advance against Fort Duquesene, French headquarters in the Ohio valley. As his army closed in upon the fort, he sent Major Grant of the 77th Highlanders and 850 men on a reconnaissance in force against the fort. The French, alerted to this move, launched their own counter-raid. 500 French and Canadians, backed by 500 Indian allies, ambushed the highlanders and sent them fleeing back to the main army. With the success of that operation, the French planned their own raid against the English encampment at Fort Ligonier less than fifty miles away. With only 600 men, against an enemy strength of 4,000, the French & Amerindians launched a daring night attack on the heart of the enemy encampment. This book tells the complete story of these ambitious raids and counter-raids, giving in-depth detail on the forces, terrain, and tactics.

I'll take a look, but his last Osprey on the earlier campaigns there was not his best work. I am being polite. I have no idea if Renee did this write up, but I sure hope not, as it too is full of inaccuracies. But, I will take a look at it.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2012 9:56 a.m. PST

Tomahawk and Musket sounds very promissing for wargaming!

OSchmidt21 Mar 2012 11:20 a.m. PST

Crucible of War and wilderness Empire have already been named.

Another excellent book is Frank Lynn's "1759 the Year England became Master of the World." Excellent book which coordinates and sets the whole war into its global contxex.

But if you REALLY want to Study the French and Indian War you have to plow through Parkman's massive, excellent and so far unsurpassed series of books on the period which deal with the whole conflict from the first French Settlemens in Louisiana, Florida, and Canada right through to the Conspiracy of Pontiac. His pair Volumes "Conspiracy of Pontiac," "Montcalm and Wolfe." "A Half Century of Conflict" "Lasalle and the Discovery of the Rest, " and many others have it all and take it from the very small to the very large. It is still excellently readable and most have simply lifted their texts from him and given him no credit.

Another good book is Robert Leckie's "A few Acres of Snow."

One other work that I think is essential is William Cronin-- "Changes in the Land." This is a book of ecological history dealing with the different uses and conceptions of land and the view of land between the Whites and the Indians. It is highly informative and basically shows how the Indians were doomed before the conflict started. I highly reccommend it.

zippyfusenet21 Mar 2012 12:41 p.m. PST

Nice to see ya round, Otto. I thought "Changes In The Land" was an interesting read. The author convinced me that the New England Indians actively managed their land and had an impact on the ecology, so that it was far from an 'untamed wilderness' when Europeans arrived, and that the English settlers changed the ecology in many ways, some intentional, some not. Uh, how did this text show you that, "…the Indians were doomed before the conflict startded." That might be true, but I don't get it from Cronin.

Grandviewroad27 Dec 2012 7:07 p.m. PST

Great recommendations – a few here I've never heard of and they sound great…off to the library.

CompagniesfranchesdelaMarine30 Dec 2012 7:20 a.m. PST

For the Siege and Battle of Quebec try the following

'Death or Victory', by Dan Snow

'Quebec, 1759: The Siege and the Battle', by Charles P Stacey


'Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe', by Stephen Brumwell

Historydude1806 May 2020 10:03 a.m. PST

Northern Armageddon-Best book on the Plains of Abraham
Backs to the Wall-About the 1760 Battle of Sainte-Foy which the French won in a reverse of the battle the year before
Braddock's Defeat-The definitive account of the battle of the Monongahela

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