Between the restoration of Charles II and the battle of Waterloo, England gradually emerged as the core nation of the most formidable superpower the world had yet seen. Wilfrid Prest investigates this remarkable transformation from domestic instability and external weakness to global, economic, and military predominance. Geographically, the main focus is on England and Wales, but Prest also analyses the broader British context, discussing the role played by Ireland and Scotland, as well as the interrelations between England, Europe, and the wider world. He examines the lives of ordinary people as well as the ruling elite, and explores the distinctive nature of women's experiences, allowing the voices of the past to speak directly to the modern reader. The result is a lively, up-to-date, and comprehensive overview of Britain's 'long eighteenth century'. It will remain a standard text on the subject for many years to come.