The inescapable irony of war is its ability to inspire the finest and most poignant literature. In the tension and drama of battle, in the terror and pathos, all man's senses are engaged and heightened. Few settings kindle the poetic spirit more fiercely than the battlefield, while facing both the enemy and one's own mortality. Gathered within this book is an extensive collection of some of the most vivid and eloquent prose and verse from those who, throughout history, have witnessed the intensity of war at first hand. Beginning with Elizabeth I's stirring speech to her soldiers at Tilbury as the Spanish advanced across the Channel, and ending with the devastation surrounding the overthrow of Saddam Hussain's Iraqi dictatorship, each piece is introduced by a penetrating and original analysis of the story behind the words, offering a stirring and moving glimpse of the consuming soul of war itself.