This Seat of Mars


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War and the British Isles, 1485-1746

Charles Carlton

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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.

Charles Carlton is professor emeritus of history at North Carolina State University.
'A vivid and extremely wide-ranging account, which will draw its readers in.' - Mark Stoyle, author of Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War

‘Carlton explores with great insight the many dimensions of warfare over an impressive chronological span. This Seat of Mars is a major achievement.’ - Mark Charles Fissel, author of English Warfare, 1511-1642

“This Seat of Mars deserves to become a classic text on war itself and on Britain’s martial ancestry.”—Allan Mallinson, The Times

“…readable, thought-provoking and humane.”—Barbara Donagan, Times Literary Supplement

"Carlton ranges from the broad view to the personal and examines nearly every aspect of British warfare during this period, but he never becomes so bogged down in the details as to lose the reader. Very readable, packed with details and abundant endnotes, this is a fine addition to British military and naval history."—D.M. Hall, Choice

‘Carlton’s wide reading is complemented by insights derived from his own experience… an entertaining, sympathetic and wide-ranging scrutiny of an important era in the development of British arms that , unusually, charts some of the more important social, demographic and political consequences of those changes over time.’—Ian Roy, Army Historical Research.
ISBN: 9780300197143
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
360 pages, 5 11/16 x 8 7/8
24 b/w illus. + 10 maps