Shakespeare was not exaggerating when he defined being a soldier as one of the seven ages of man. Over the early modern period, many millions of young men from the four corners of the present United Kingdom went to war, often-and most bloodily-against each other. The almost continuous fighting on land and sea for the two and one-half centuries between Bosworth and Culloden decimated lives, but created the British state and forged the nation as the world's predominant power. In this innovative and moving book, Charles Carlton explores the glorious and terrible impact of war at the national and individual levels. Chapters alternate, providing a robust military and political narrative interlaced with accounts illuminating the personal experience of war, from recruitment to the end of battle in discharge or death. Carlton expertly charts the remarkable military developments over the period, as well as war's enduring corollaries-camaraderie, courage, fear, and grief-to give a powerful account of the profound effect of war on the British Isles and its peoples.