Thursday, July 31, 2008

A book review...

This is getting to be a good time to plan trips to Pennsylvania (leaf season is just two months away.) A couple of months ago I was sent a review copy of Pennsylvania's Forbes Trail for review.

This ain't your parent's guide book. This is better. Of all the great things about this book, what impressed me the most, was the amount of HISTORICAL detail that the authors put in this guide book. The text provides an excellent background for the travelogue and helps readers understand this important campaign in what is, unfortunately, a forgotten war. Fred Anderson's introduction helps set the reader up for the very well written historical vignettes that accompany each section on a specific community or portion of the trail. (For those of you who don't know who Fred Anderson is, he's the author of the best modern study of the war The Crucible of War: The Seven Years War and the Fate of Empire in North America 1754-1766.)

The maps are well drawn and easy to follow and the guide is very well organized. It's clearly meant for an east-west trip to replicate the march of Gen. Forbes' column, and I'd recommend people use it that way. The guide tells you about what it's like to hack out a road west through the Appalachian Mountains through what was at that time pristine wilderness. The book is also blessed with excellent illustrations and photographs. It very much reminds me of the fine guides published by the National Park Service, particularly with the artwork.

Finally, those who want to further their research are provided with a small but very well chosen selection of books to read for further information on the French and Indian War. If you're looking for something to do in the early fall, a drive through Pennsylvania is a good option and this guide book is worth getting. You'll learn and get to travel through some great communities and see some great things.

This book, and the trail itself is definitely worth checking out. See you on the road! (I'll be up that way in early October and then again in late March.)

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