1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World by Frank McLynn
Although 1759 is not a date as well known in British history as 1215, 1588, or 1688, there is a strong case to be made that it is the most significant year since 1066. In 1759 - the fourth year of the Seven Years War - the British defeated the French in arduous campaigns in India and the West Indies, in Germany and Canada, and also achieved absolute mastery of the seas. As Thackeray famously remarked in Barry Lyndon, it would take a theologian, rather than an historian, to unravel the true causes of the Seven Years War in Europe, but the spine of the wider conflict was the struggle for global hegemony between Britain and France. Drawing on a mass of primary materials - from texts in the Vatican archives to oral histories of the North American Indians - Frank McLynn shows how the conflict between those two countries triggered the first 'world war', raging from Europe to Africa; the Caribbean to the Pacific; the plains of the Ganges to the Great Lakes of North America. It also brought about the War of Independence, the acquisition by Britain of the Falkland Islands and, ultimately, the French Revolution.