Empires in the Mountains - Purple Mountain Press


by Russell P. Bellico


The French and Indian War (1754-1763), the North American theater of the Seven Years' War, would change the map of the continent and set the stage for the American Revolution. The conflict, which pitted the French and their Indian allies against the English, has often been misunderstood and largely received minor treatment in most general histories of America. To some, the name of the war itself has been puzzling and somewhat misleading because Britain also had Indian allies during the war. The war represented a culmination of a century-old struggle for control of North America. The clash was inevitable. English settlers increasingly pushed westward and northward from their original settlements on the east coast, displacing the French and Native Americans. The French population in North America, approximately 55,000 by the middle of the eighteenth century, lived principally along the St. Lawrence River; but New France claimed a vast amount of territory to the west, linked by a string of isolated trading posts and forts. In contrast, the population of the English colonies had expanded from a quarter million inhabitants in 1700 to 1.2 million by 1750. English land companies soon began to encroach on territories claimed by the French. To defend their land holdings, the French built a series of substantial fortifications on the strategic water routes of their empire, including along the Richelieu River-Lake Champlain corridor.

Detail of a "plan of Fort Carillon" 1758 by Lieutenant Coentgen Therbu, engineer
National Archives of Canada

"Not since Francis Parkman more than a century ago has the epic story of the "Warpath of Empire" been told with such sweep and such rich detail, bolstered by superb illustrations. Bellico, author of three important earlier books, caps his last quarter-century career as an historian with this comprehensive tour-de-force. No other theater of the Great War for Empire has been chronicled so well, so thoroughly, so vividly, so frequently in the voices of the participants."
--Nicholas Westbrook, Director Emeritus, Fort Ticonderoga, and Vice Chair, New York State French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commission.

"The book is a masterful continuation of Dr. Bellico's previous titles. Once again he weaves his own smooth style with carefully chosen excerpts from period sources, creating a lively narrative that gives the reader an eyewitness view of these exciting crucial times."
--Timothy J. Todish, editor of The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers and author of America's FIRST First World War: The French and Indian War, 1754-1763.

"Russell Bellico has educated a generation of students and scholars through his many books on the rich history surrounding Lake George and Lake Champlain. Empires in the Mountains, however, is the crown jewel of the collection. In a meticulously detailed, easy to read narrative, it incorporates extensive firsthand accounts and modern scholarship to chronicle the colonial military campaigns that took place in those regions. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen maps and artwork, this volume is truly a must-have for any student of history!"
--Christopher D. Fox, Curator of Collections, Fort Ticonderoga.

"This is a commanding history. . .Russell P. Bellico relies heavily on firsthand documents, not the shaded interpretations of earlier historians. His accounts of the famous sieges and battles are among the most intricately detailed ones ever written. The full pageantry of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century warfare is made clear and exciting. . . . It is highly readable and authoritative, easily the best single book on the early campaigns and battles of that region."
--Gary S. Zaboly, author of A True Ranger: The Life and Many Wars of Major Robert Rogers and American Colonial Ranger.

Russell P. Bellico is a professor emeritus at Westfield State College in Massachusetts. He is the author of Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military History of Lake George and Lake Champlain, Chronicles of Lake George, Chronicles of Lake Champlain, and the editor of Life on a Canal Boat: The Journals of Theodore Bartley.


366 pages, 150 illustrations, 7 x 10, index, 2010
$27.50 paperback--A Purple Mountain Press original

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