The Year Britain Became Master of the World
A remarkable new book on a crucial moment in British and world history.
Although 1759 is not a date as well known in British history as 1215, 1588, or 1688, there is a strong case to be made that it is the most significant year since 1066. In the two great battles of 1759, Britain effectively beat France for global supremacy and founded the first British Empire. From the almost uninterrupted series of victories that year came momentous consequences. Victory in the East, in India and the Philippines, which in turn led to the colonisation of Australia and New Zealand. Victory in North America secured Canada for the empire and, by removing the French, created the conditions which inspired American rebellion. Until now, the story of the causes and consequences of The Seven Years War (1756-63) has been largely obscured. As Thackeray famously remarked in Barry Lindon, it would take a theologian, rather than an historian, to unravel the true causes. Drawing on a mass of primary materials - from texts in the Vatican archives to oral histories of the North American Indians - Frank McLynn shows how the conflict between Britain and France triggered the first 'world war', raging from Europe to Africa; the Caribbean to the Pacific; the plains of the Ganges to the Great Lakes of North America, and also brought about the War of Independence, the acquisition by Britain of the Falkland Islands and ultimately, The French Revolution.
“robust, intelligent, panoramic history at its best”
Andrew Lycett, BBC History Magazine
“Frank McLynn is clearly one of those historian-writers so prolific and versatile that he makes you wonder why Simon Schama doesn't pull his finger out.”
Independent on Sunday
“Makes a great case for a better appreciation of this, the fourth year of the Seven Years' War”
Jad Adams, BBC History Magazine