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Hailed as immediately and universally recognized as indispensable (TLS) and compellingly readable, richly researched, fascinatingly detailed, delightfully written (LRB), here is a masterful exploration of the ways in which people sought to lead fulfilling lives, illuminating the central values of early modern England, while casting incidental light on some of the perennial problems of human existence. Keith Thomas, one of the foremost historians of our time, sheds light on the origins of the modern ideal of human fulfillment and explores the many obstacles to its realization, looking at work, wealth, possessions, friendship, family, and sociability. The book looks at the cult of military prowess, the pursuit of honor and reputation, the nature of religious belief, and the desire to be posthumously remembered. The Ends of Life offers a fresh approach to the history of early modern England, providing modern readers with much food for thought on the problem of how we should live and what goals in life we should pursue.