1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World by Frank McLynn

By Frank McLynn

If no longer for the occasions of 1759, the total historical past of the area may were diverse. known as the "Year of Victories," 1759 was once the fourth 12 months of the Seven Years, or the French-and-Indian battle and defeat of the French not just prepared the ground for the worldwide hegemony of the English language but additionally made the emergence of the us attainable. Guiding us via England's conquests (and usually tremendous slim victories) in India, North the USA, and the Caribbean, Frank McLynn (Wagons West) controversially means that the start of the good British Empire was once extra as a result success than of rigorous making plans. in addition to stirring depictions of the 2 maximum battles of 1759, Quebec and Quiberon, McLynn contains anecdotes of the highbrow and cultural leaders of the day—Swedenborg, Hume, Voltaire—and interweaves basic resources, starting from fabric within the Vatican documents to oral histories of local americans, in an excellent chronicle of a pivotal 12 months in global history.

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General James Wolfe (Private Collection/Bridgeman Art Library) 25. Frederick the Great (The Art Archive/Musée des Beaux Arts Nantes/Dagli Orti) 26. The war in Germany (© Photograph RMN – Gérar Blot) 27. Battle of Minden (Mary Evans Picture Library) 28. Plains of Abraham (© Hulton Archive) 29. Capture of Quebec (© Hulton Archive) 30. Death of Montcalm (© Hulton Archive) 31. Death of Wolfe (© Hulton Archive) 32. Robert Rogers of the Rangers (© Bettman/Corbis) 33. Rogers’ Rangers in action (© Corbis) 34.

There were at most seven million people in Britain in 1759, as against more than twenty-five million in France (140 million in Europe as a whole and 800 million in the entire world). In normal circumstances, this kind of disparity in numbers between combatants is crucial and is often cited as the core reason for the victory of the North over the South in the American Civil War. France, then, appeared to hold the best cards in the global struggle, but it was seapower that opened the door to a world of massively increasing wealth; it is well known that in political struggles money can outpoint sheer numbers.

For all his religious fervour and undoubted achievements, John Wesley was not a very pleasant man. Disingenuous, duplicitous and mendacious, he liked to rewrite his own life story in his letters and journals, so that he appeared omniscient, omnipotent and infallible. But occasionally Wesley was faced by phenomena so overpowering that he confronted the truth with a steady eye. He liked to litter his autobiography with ‘turning points’ and lights on the road to Damascus, but one defining moment of truth certainly occurred.

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