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About the Book

Beyond the Book

392 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 18 halftones, notes, bibl., index

Sponsored by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

ISBN  978-1-4696-1833-3
Published: March 2015

Adventurism and Empire

The Struggle for Mastery in the Louisiana-Florida Borderlands, 1762-1803

By David Narrett

In this expansive book, David Narrett shows how the United States emerged as a successor empire to Great Britain through rivalry with Spain in the Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast. As he traces currents of peace and war over four critical decades--from the close of the Seven Years War through the Louisiana Purchase--Narrett sheds new light on individual colonial adventurers and schemers who shaped history through cross-border trade, settlement projects involving slave and free labor, and military incursions into Spanish and Indian territories.

Narrett examines the clash of empires and nationalities from the diverse perspectives of Native Americans and of the competing Spanish, French, British, and Anglo-American forces. In a time of great transition, the Louisiana and Florida frontiers were enmeshed in turbulent international politics and experienced tremors from both the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution. By demonstrating the pervasiveness of intrigue and subterfuge in borderland rivalries and showing that U.S. Manifest Destiny was not a linear or inevitable progression, Narrett redefines the important role these North American borderlands had in shaping the history of the Atlantic world.

About the Author

David Narrett is professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington.


“[A] thoughtful and meticulous book. . . . Required reading for scholars of eighteenth-century North American history.”
--Journal of American History

“Well researched, clearly argued, crisply written, and, in addition, entertaining.”
--American Historical Review

"This is no small thing….A valuable contribution to the literature on Spanish colonialism and colonialism in general."
--Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“Narrett demonstrates a masterful understanding of the complicated and unpredictable course of events that contributed to the United States’ ultimate acquisition of this region.”
--H-Net Reviews

"[Narrett] used extensive archival collections and published primary and secondary sources to produce this well-done study. . . . Highly recommended."

"Impressively researched. . . . A work that all specialists on the subject will savor and mine for further insights. . . . Does a masterful job of tracing the twists and turns of the various diplomatic and cultural alliances that were formed throughout the borderlands."
--Florida Historical Quarterly

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