I have been reviewing books for the North Carolina Historical Review for several years now. These have all been titles on colonial and Revolutionary era subjects. The most recent one to come my way from the NCHR book review editor Anne Miller is Colin Calloway’s The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America (Oxford U. Press, 2006.) It is 240 pages with some maps and half tones, and is part of the Oxford series called “Pivotal Moments in American History.” Calloway is Professor of History and Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, and is the author of several books including One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West Before Lewis and Clark (2003), which I find superb.
Anyway, regarding Scratch, here’s part of the description from OUP:
In February 1763, Britain, Spain, and France signed the Treaty of Paris, ending the French and Indian War. In this one document, more American territory changed hands than in any treaty before or since. As the great historian Francis Parkman wrote, “half a continent…changed hands at the scratch of a pen.” As Colin Calloway reveals in this superb history, the Treaty set in motion a cascade of unexpected consequences. Indians and Europeans, settlers and frontiersmen, all struggled to adapt to new boundaries, new alignments, and new relationships. Britain now possessed a vast American empire stretching from Canada to the Florida Keys, yet the crushing costs of maintaining it would push its colonies toward rebellion.