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Event Details

Date: March 22, 2023

Location: Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, 915 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Cost: Free


In 1976, John Shy introduced a volume of collected essays, A People Numerous and Armed, by calling for a “new” military history that could integrate studies of The War of Independence into the broader political narrative of the American Revolution. In doing so, he gave a name—unintentionally, perhaps—to the historiographical movement that took form during the following decade and a half.  Today, Shy’s vision of an integrative, contextualized history of war continues to animate the study of armed conflicts and military institutions from Antiquity to the modern era. While those effects are now being felt on a global scale, altering the grand narratives that have long dominated national historiographies, Anderson’s argument more narrowly considers the impact of new military history approaches on emergent understandings of American development from 1500 to the present day. These influences are apparent in numerous recent historical syntheses that treat imperialism as a force no less pervasive than republican political culture and capitalism in the shaping of the United States and the Americas—a powerful corrective to unexamined assumptions, including notions of American exceptionalism, the pernicious myth of the vanishing Indian, and the teleology of the nation-state, that have long afflicted the grand narrative of American history. 

John Shy had this to say about Fred Anderson's Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766, "I can hardly exaggerate my admiration for what Anderson has achieved: a big book that makes a complex, often centrifugal history both coherent and engaging, accessible to anyone who reads and cares." Shy wrote a review published in the Canadian Journal of History (Vol. 35, Issue 3) in December 2000.

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