A People's Army

Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years' War

By Fred Anderson

292 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 2 figs., 3 maps, 31 tables, appends., notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4576-9
    Published: September 1996
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-3828-0
    Published: December 2012

Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

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Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

Awards & distinctions

1982 Jamestown Prize in Early American History, Institute of Early American History and Culture

1987 Distinguished Book Award, Society of Colonial Wars

A People's Army documents the many distinctions between British regulars and Massachusetts provincial troops during the Seven Years' War. Originally published by UNC Press in 1984, the book was the first investigation of colonial military life to give equal attention to official records and to the diaries and other writings of the common soldier. The provincials' own accounts of their experiences in the campaign amplify statistical profiles that define the men, both as civilians and as soldiers. These writings reveal in intimate detail their misadventures, the drudgery of soldiering, the imminence of death, and the providential world view that helped reconcile them to their condition and to the war.

About the Author

Fred Anderson is professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
For more information about Fred Anderson, visit the Author Page.


"[A] masterpiece. . . . A superlative piece of scholarship. The volume is 'must' reading for every student of military, social, or early American history."--American Historical Review

"A convincing portrait of the psychosocial impact of the French and Indian War on the fighting men of Massachusetts."--New York Times Book Review

"Strikingly original. . . . Carefully composed and thoroughly researched."--New York Review of Books

"An excellent blend of social and military history, exploding traditional views on the social makeup and motivation to service of Bay Colony soldiers. . . . Richly describes daily life and battle experiences."--Library Journal

"[Combines] social and military history, and in the process [Anderson] has drawn on a third genre. The result is a suggestive and intriguing book, as important for its method as it is for its conclusions."--William and Mary Quarterly