Michael Collins came of age in the early 20th century, when a monumental history of oppression and bloodshed had divided Ireland and its people, making hatred and distrust a national heritage and a way of life. In 1916, in what became known as the Easter Uprising, Irish revolutionaries surrendered after a six-day standoff at Dublin's General Post Office to the overwhelming military power of the British forces. Many followers, including Michael Collins and his close friend Harry Boland, were imprisoned. Upon their release, they found themselves the new leaders of the Irish independence movement. Collins' efforts to create a free and peaceful country, like the epic history of Ireland itself, would encompass romance and violence, valor and rage, burning hope and fiery tragedy. It would result in both the triumph of the free Irish Republic and the terror in Northern Ireland that continues to make bloody headlines today. And it would forever change the ways people wage wars of independence.