Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763 by Paul W. Mapp.

About the book, from the publisher:
A truly continental history in both its geographic and political scope, The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire investigates eighteenth-century diplomacy involving North America and links geographic ignorance about the American West to Europeans' grand geopolitical designs. Breaking from scholars' traditional focus on the Atlantic world, Paul Mapp demonstrates the centrality of hitherto understudied western regions to early American history.

In the first two-thirds of the eighteenth century, imperial officials in London, Paris, or Madrid knew very little about western North America. Yet Europeans' competition to gain access to the Pacific Ocean and control trade to the Far East enhanced the importance of western American territories. Mapp reconstructs French, Spanish, British, and Amerindian ideas about these unknown regions, especially the elusive Northwest Passage, and shows that a Pacific focus is crucial to understanding the causes, course, and consequences of the Seven Years' War.

Mapp's work serves as a model for constructing a comprehensive colonial history of the continent. His book transcends artificially imposed boundaries of scholarly inquiry that did not exist in the diverse and interconnected early modern world and relates remote Pacific regions to the Atlantic aspects of the global Seven Years' War.