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Extended Audio Sample The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America, by Colin G. Calloway Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (133 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Colin G. Calloway Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Treaty of Paris of 1763 had a profound effect on American history, setting in motion a cascade of unexpected consequences, as Indians and Europeans, settlers and frontiersmen, all struggled to adapt to new boundaries, new alignments, and new relationships. 

Britain now possessed a vast American empire stretching from Canada to the Florida Keys, yet the crushing costs of maintaining it would push its colonies toward rebellion. White settlers, free to pour into the West, clashed as never before with Indian tribes struggling to defend their way of life. In the Northwest, Pontiac’s War brought racial conflict to its bitterest level so far. Whole ethnic groups migrated, sometimes across the continent: it was 1763 that saw many exiled settlers from Acadia in French Canada move again to Louisiana, where they would become Cajuns. Calloway unfurls this panoramic canvas with vibrant narrative skill, peopling his tale with memorable characters such as William Johnson, the Irish baronet who moved between Indian campfires and British barracks; Pontiac, the charismatic Ottawa chieftain; and James Murray, Britain’s first governor in Quebec, who fought to protect the religious rights of his French Catholic subjects. 

Most Americans know the significance of the Declaration of Independence or the Emancipation Proclamation, but not the Treaty of Paris. Yet 1763 was a year that shaped our history just as decisively as 1776 or 1862. This captivating book shows why.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Forget the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence: it was the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763 at the close of the French and Indian War, that set the stage for the birth of America.”

    Atlantic Monthly

  • “A colonial revolution, Indian wars for independence, the cultural survival of a defeated empire…all here brought into sharp focus by Calloway’s illuminating account.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Dartmouth historian Calloway…tells a spellbinding tale of a year in American history…This first-rate cultural history…reveals that the events of 1763 changed not only the political geography of a nation but also its cultural geography, as various groups moved from one part of the country to another.”

    Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

  • “Well crafted, scholarly, and stimulating, this book offers fresh perspectives on a signpost year.”

    American Historical Review

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Dave | 11/12/2013

    " Seems to be a great, consice book on the time around and during the French and Indian War. Focuses on the feelings generated during the era that led to the American Revolution. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Chris Johnson | 10/12/2013

    " A fantastic historical look at North American before and after the signing of the Declaration. I great book for any revolution and founding fathers lover out there. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Ems (Ems Reviews Books) | 10/6/2013

    " I mean, it's a textbook for my history class. Though, it WAS much better than most history books I've had used in classes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mark Singer | 8/4/2013

    " Calloway provides an excellent and brief description of the state of British North America in the crucial year of 1763, right at the end of the Seven Years War. This was a required text for a course I took on the American Revolution in the Spring of 2010 at Temple University - Ambler. "

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About the Author

Colin G. Calloway is a professor of history and Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. His many books on early American history include New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America and The American Revolution in Indian Country. His most recent work, One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West Before Lewis and Clark, received the Ray Allen Billington Prize, the Merle Curti Award, and many other prizes, and was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year.