In the new edition of this classic book, Geoffrey Parker draws on material from all over Europe to provide an authoritative and exciting account of the eventful first half of the seventeenth century. The continent enjoyed scarcely a year of peace during this period. Instead revolution, civil war and complex international conflicts brought many states to the edge of collapse in the 1640s. Professor Parker examines three crucial conflicts: the desperate struggle of the Habsburgs with France and the Dutch Republic: the rivalry of Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Poland for control of the Baltic, and the confrontation between the Austrian Habsburgs and their subjects which escalated into the Thirty Years' War. He also illuminates the leading social, economic and intellectual developments of the period. The new edition has been revised throughout and includes an updated bibliography.