Warfare dominated the long reign of the `Sun-king', Louis XIV. For forty years from 1672, France was continuously at war and had one of the largest armies seen in the West since the fall of imperial Rome. The campaigns secured little territory, but almost bankrupted the country and the consequences for the French monarchy were dramatic - contributing to its eventual downfall. John Lynn examines the wars for evidence of a coherent strategic policy; he explores the operational logistics of the campaigns; and considers their significance for France's diplomatic, political, mililtary, administrative and institutional This is the first modern, comprehensive study in any language, and offers a vivid insight into 17th and 18th century statesmanship and warfare - reaching a climax with the defeat of France by Marlborough at Blenheim.
List of maps. Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. PrologueInternational and Internal Conflict 1500-1661. 2. Louis XIV Gloire and Strategy. 3. The Army, the Navy and the Art of War. 4. Wars of Glorie: The War of Devolution and the Dutch War. 5. Violence and State Policy: Reunions, Mediterranean Expeditions and Internal Struggles. 6. The Great Miscalculation: The Nine Year's War. 7. The Final Contest: The War of the Spanish Succession. 8. The Wars of Louis XIV in the Context of the History of War. Chronology. Bibliographical Essay.