Century of Conflict

By Joseph Lister Rutledge | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

For all that there have been a multitude of histories covering the century of conflict on this continent, the happenings themselves, and sometimes the actors in them, have remained cloudy and impersonal. The names fall with a sense of distant famillarity but not with any impact of reality.

That is the excuse, if excuse is needed, for the series of volumes in the making, of which this Is the second. It is an attempt to make characters and events move out of the stiff formalities of history, to find flesh and blood and a sense of immediacy in the crowding events.

No history is likely to be written that must not pay tribute to the magnificent story presented by Francis Parkman, no writer but will owe a debt there to his great pioneering in the story of this continent told with such graphic mastery.

There are other historians of this era to whom grateful acknowledgment is due, some who wrote while the events they recorded were still relatively recent, and some from a more detached knowledge, or focused on some segment of the record.

But still there seems a place for a history that endeavors to relate past events to more recent happenings and attitudes. It is not easy today to understand that men could believe in the divine right of kings. Yet that thinking was half of the background of this story. It was what gave the French regime in Canada its drive and power, and it was what brought about its fall. For here was the beginning of an irrepressible conflict

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