Books: Epic Labors

THE BATTLE FOR NORTH AMERICA (746 pp) — Francis Parkman — Edited and Abridged by John Tebbel—Double-day ($7.50).

If it can be said of any author that his early life was a preparation for writing, it can be said of Francis Parkman. The 13 volumes of his masterwork, France and England in North America (now skillfully reduced to one compact volume), appeared over a period of 27 years, beginning in 1865. But they had been forming in his notebooks, for 24 years before that.

The son of a minister and grandson of a wealthy merchant,...

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