Anderson, Fred 1949–
Anderson, Fred 1949–
PERSONAL: Born April 11, 1949, in Omaha, NE; son of Wayne W. and Melva D. (Torrens) Anderson; married Virginia Ann DeJohn (a professor of history), August 16, 1980. Education: Colorado State Univer-sity, B.A. (with highest honors), 1971; Harvard University, A.M., 1973, Ph.D., 1981. Religion: Roman Catholic.
ADDRESSES: Home—200 Agate Way, Broomfield, CO 80020. Office—Department of History, University of Colorado—Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309. Agent—Lisa Adams, Garamond Agency, 12 Horton St., Newburyport, MA 01950. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, lecturer in history and literature, 1981–83; University of Colorado at Boulder, assistant professor, 1983–89, associate professor, 1989–2001, professor of history, 2001–. Co-director, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, The Young Republic, 1986–89; War for Empire Consortium, Pittsburgh, PA, consultant, 2000—historical advisor, The War That Made America (film), 2000. Lecturer at numerous symposia and universities. Military service: U.S. Army, Signal Corps, 1973–75; U.S. Army Reserve, 1975–81, became captain.
MEMBER: American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society of American Historians, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Jamestown Prize, Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1982, for A People's Army; citation of honor, Society of Colonial Wars, 1987, for A People's Army; National Book Critics Circle Award nomination, Colorado Book Award, Francis Parkman Prize, Mark Lynton History Prize, all 2001, all for The Crucible of War.
A People's Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years' War, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1984.
(Illustrator) Richard Balkwill, Trafalgar, New Discovery (New York, NY), 1993.
The Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 (contains illustrations from the William L. Clements Library), Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Andrew Cayton) The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500–2000, Viking Press (New York, NY), 2005.
The War that Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War, Viking Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Section editor and contributor, The Oxford Companion to American Military History, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999. Contributor to William and Mary Quarterly, Massachusetts Historical Review, and Reviews in American History. Contributor of book reviews to numerous periodicals.
SIDELIGHTS: Fred Anderson served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1973 to 1975, remaining in the Army Reserve until 1981. Anderson once told CA: "My own experience of military service, humdrum and ordinary in every respect, alerted me to what became the subject of my first book [A People's Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years' War], the effects of army life on the participants. My interests have since widened to include concern with the effects of war on society, and particularly with the influence of wars in the formation of generations as self-conscious entities."
Anderson is best known for his award-winning history, The Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766, published in 2000. The work combines scholarly detail with a writing style easily accessible by the general reader, and it portrays—often through vignettes of famous generals and notable Native American warriors—the entirety of the Seven Years' War as it was fought on North American soil. Better known as the French and Indian War, the Seven Years' War was fought on a much more global scale, with England and France vying for supremacy in regions as varied as Europe, the Far East, and Africa. In some respects, Anderson sees the conflict as the first "world war," and of far greater consequence to American history than most students believe.
The Crucible of War was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and it won the Colorado Book Award, the Francis Parkman Prize, and the Mark Lynton History Prize. Generally, the book was praised by critics not only for its thorough coverage of the conflict as conducted in North America, but also for its accessible style and original conclusions. "Fred Anderson offers a compelling and well-written narrative, full of rich characterizations and fascinating detail, driven by a sustained and sophisticated analysis," wrote Michael A. Bellesiles in the Journal of British Studies. "This book will permanently place the Seven Years' War where it belongs, at the center of our understanding of American development in the eighteenth century." Colin Nicolson, in the English Historical Review, called the work "magnificent," adding that it "is a beautifully written and illustrated narrative, interspersed with concise analyses." In his New Republic essay on the book, Alan Taylor suggested: "Readers who plunge into the text will discover [Anderson's] flair for narrating dramatic events and describing vivid characters. And he has a great, sprawling tale to tell."
Because the Seven Years' War affected the boundaries of both the United States and Canada, Anderson's The Crucible of War also found readers in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Canadian Journal of History devoted five reviews to the book in its December, 2000 issue and also allowed Anderson to respond to the reviewers' comments. In his introduction to the selection of reviews, Ian K. Steele noted, "All five reviewers here confirm what the popular press and book club adoptions suggest: Anderson has written a masterful narrative." In his review in the same periodical, John Shy stated: "The story is familiar … yet Anderson makes it crisp and original, in part with very good writing but also by bringing to each episode a rare grasp of both difficulties and context." Also in the Canadian Journal of History, Gregory Evans Dowd concluded: "Whatever one's tastes, Anderson's mastery of detail, narrative, and breadth of action invite both deep admiration and serious attention."
Anderson coauthored The Dominion of War: Empire and Conflict in America, 1500–2000 with Andrew Cayton. This title examines how the United States evolved from a quarrelsome group of colonies into a global superpower, using war as the "engine of change," to quote New Statesman reviewer Michael Lind. The authors focus on several notable historical figures, including Samuel de Champlain, William Penn, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Antonio de Lopez de Santa Anna, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, and Colin Powell. Through individual chapters on these men, Anderson and Cayton explore the importance of military action in the expansion of American global influence. Ruud Janssens in History: Review of New Books deemed the work "well researched and insightful," especially in its "excellent chapters on individual political and military leaders." A Publishers Weekly critic cited The Dominion of War as an "enterprising, readable work…. It's solid corrective history." Booklist contributor Jay Freeman found the work "an incisive, provocative account of the U.S. rise to global preeminence."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic Monthly, December, 2000, review of Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766, p. 122.
Booklist, January 1, 2000, Gilbert Taylor, review of Crucible of War, p. 865; November 15, 2004, Jay Freeman, review of The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500–2000, p. 547.
Canadian Journal of History, December, 2000, Ian K. Steele, "Narrative as Master: A Forum on Fred Anderson's Crucible of War, p. 473; December, 2000, John Shy, "Crucible of Revolution," p. 479; December, 2000, Gregory Evans Dowd, "North American Baroque," p. 483; December, 2000, Jonathan R. Dull, "The French and Indian War without the French," p. 491; December, 2000, P. J. Marshall, "Fred Anderson's Seven Years' War in Imperial Perspective," p. 495.
English Historical Review, June, 2001, Colin Nicolson, review of Crucible of War, p. 736.
Foreign Affairs, May-June, 2005, Walter Russell Mead, review of The Dominion of War, p. 138.
History: Review of New Books, spring, 2005, Ruud Janssens, review of The Dominion of War, p. 92.
Journal of American History, September, 1985, p. 390.
Journal of British Studies, October, 2001, Michael A. Bellesiles, review of Crucible of War, p. 585.
Journal of Southern History, May, 2002, Robert M.S. McDonald, review of Crucible of War, p. 436.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2004, review of The Dominion of War, p. 1033.
Library Journal, February 1, 2000, Thomas J. Schaeper, review of Crucible of War, p. 100.
New Republic, August 14, 2000, Alan Taylor, "The Forgotten War," p. 40.
New Statesman, July 25, 2005, Michael Lind, review of The Dominion of War, p. 52.
Parameters, winter, 2001, Robert Major Bateman, review of Crucible of War, p. 167.
Publishers Weekly, December 20, 1999, review of Crucible of War, p. 64; November 22, 2004, review of The Dominion of War, p. 52.
Washington Monthly, September, 2000, Thomas E. Ricks, review of Crucible of War, p. 57.