In This Review

The Grand Strategy of Philip II
The Grand Strategy of Philip II
By Geoffrey Parker
Yale University Press, 1998, 320 pp

Historians, and historians of the early modern period in particular, often sniff at more ambitious scholars who generalize about strategy. Not so Parker, who has capped a career of writing about Spain and its enemies with a superb study that is part biography, part military history, and part strategic treatise. The author expertly guides his reader through the strategic complexities that weighed upon Philip II, the conscientious, cold, and pious ruler of the greatest empire of his time. No less remarkable than Parker's mastery of voluminous Spanish archives is his use of Philip's rule to illuminate the broader problems of grand strategy, including such supposedly modern phenomena as information overload. This lucid book deserves a much larger audience than students of the Dutch Revolt and the Armada.