From the Jacobite Rebellions and the American War of Independence, through the Napoleonic Wars, the Indian Mutiny, two World Wars up to Iraq and Afghanistan, Scottish soldiers have defended British kings, queens and country across five continents â in the process establishing reputations for bravery and fighting skill. This is their history, told not from the reports of generals and far-away journalists and historians, but in their own words; for many of these soldiers were highly literate, being the products of what by the 18th and 19th centuries had become one of the best education systems in Europe. Historian Ken Konstam (a proud Scot and former Royal Navy officer) has gathered together the letters, diaries, reports, poems and ballads of some 50 Scottish soldiers from across three centuries to weave together a sometimes breath-taking and truly touching account of soldiers at war. Not just the obvious tales of heroism, camaraderie and courage under fire that used to be the staple of boysâ war comics, but also the boredom, homesickness, fear, disease and death that they often faced on a daily basis. Konstamâs contribution provides both background and context to the extracts, but he is honest enough to let the soldiersâ own words shine.