The Far Reaches of Empire
War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760
University of Oklahoma Press 2008
For many readers, colonial history begins and ends with the original 13 American colonies. This perception overlooks the other British colonies throughout the New World, each of which created their own unique challenges for their imperial master. Historian John Grenier considers one of these “other” colonies in his book The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2008). Part of the Campaigns and Commanders series from the University of Oklahoma Press, Grenier’s book builds upon the framework he constructed in an earlier work, The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607-1814 (Cambridge University Press, 2005). There he introduced the idea that a uniquely American way of war evolved in response to the clash of cultures taking place in the New World, drawing equally from the realities and perceptions of war with the Native Americans and the petit guerre -“little war” or irregular war – of the European continent. In this book, Nova Scotia serves as a case study for the First Way of War. Acquired by Britain after Queen Anne’s War, the province was occupied both by French-speaking Acadians and several Native American tribes. Within half a century, however, this population was supplanted by English-speaking settlers, largely from the Massachusetts colony, the original settlers displaced by war and policy. Grenier’s study is thus more than a simple campaign history; instead it presents a complex and intriguing account of the negotiations and conflicts between the island’s diverse Acadian and Native American population, their English overseers, and the encroaching “Yankees” from the colony of Massachusetts offers a fresh take on colonial history. Grenier highlights how a new form of irregular warfare took shape in the New World, on the fringe of Empire.