This year marks the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Seven Years' War. While other histories have focused on the large military campaigns along the Hudson and St. Lawrence Valleys, Matthew Ward describes the impetus, progress, and devastating effects of the war as it played out in the region where it began. He combines Indian history, social history, and military history to present a complete picture of the competing interests and struggles facing the people engaged in the conflict. Ward illuminates how the backcountry colonies not only played a critical part in the war itself, but also opened the door to some of the definitive elements of the next few decades - western expansion, widespread fear and hatred of Indians, free colonial trading, a new spirit of self-reliance, and, most crucially, the Revolutionary War and the evolution of a new nation. Using original research from archives in the United States and Britain, Ward delivers a fresh analysis as well as an engaging explication of events. He describes how Indian raids were structured to achieve a successful military strategy, and analyzes the remarkable ineffectiveness of colonial and imperial defenses. As France and England grappled for supremacy throughout the world, these superpowers were showing signs of the mismanagement and deterioration that, as Ward demonstrates, would lead to major upheavals in Europe over the next several decades. Breaking the Backcountry captures the emotional tenor and social experience of the times. This deeply moving account will appear to readers interested in the history of colonial America in general, or the Pennsylvania and Virginia region specifically.