1759 : The Year Britain Became Master of the World, Paperback Book

1759 : The Year Britain Became Master of the World Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


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 1759 - the fourth year of the Seven Years War - the British defeated the French in arduous campaigns in India and the West Indies, in Germany and Canada, and also achieved absolute mastery of the seas.

As Thackeray famously remarked in Barry Lyndon, it would take a theologian, rather than an historian, to unravel the true causes of the Seven Years War in Europe, but the spine of the wider conflict was the struggle for global hegemony between Britain and France.

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 those two countries 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.

It also brought about the War of Independence, the acquisition by Britain of the Falkland Islands and, ultimately, the French Revolution.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780712694186

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As a Brit, reading this book is easy. After all, we come out on top in all the particular campaigns talked about. I imagine a patriotic Frenchman would find it rather irritating. However, I must somewhat take issue with the title of the book. 1759 was not, so far as I am aware, quite the year that Frank McLynn cranks it out to be. Oh to be sure there were a crucial series of events, but Canada and India were not finished off for another couple of years, the war in Europe itself dragged on, and so on and so forth. The only particular part where I think the subtitle is merited is when it comes the Battle of Quiberon Bay, and even there it is incidental. The Seven Years War was the point when Britain managed to get naval logistics sorted out, and Quiberon Bay was surely one of the results. The seeds harvested at Trafalgar were sowed here, and in that small realm the title has some truth. A fun read though, as I said. And quite useful in its way if you want a little more detail on the first half of the Seven Years War - at least from Britain's perspective. For as I have intimated, this book is thoroughly Anglo-centric.

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