This series provides analyses of complex issues and problems in important A level Modern History topics. Using supporting documents the books aim to provide a clear account of historical facts and the differing interpretations of central themes. Aiming to bridge the gap between the standardized text book and the specialist survey, each book consists of a brief introduction or background to the subject, followed by a section of analysis focusing on the main themes and issues. There is an assessment of the subject, a selection of documents and a bibliography. Contributors are drawn from teachers in schools, colleges, polytechnics and universitites and are all experts in their field. Rather than taking a neutral approach, they express their own views, whilst giving due weight to alternative perspectives. This book, after opening with an examination of the legacy of Charles V, goes on to analyze the nature and impact of Philip II's rule and government, addressing the question of how absolute was Philip II? Woodward examines changes in royal finance, the economic and social issues of the time, and the impact of religion both within Spain and its empire.