Warfare dominated the long reign of Louis XIV. From 1672 France was continuously at war for over 40 years, across Europe from Sicily to Ireland, fielding the largest armies seen in the West since the fall of imperial Rome. However, she gained little by it. The impact of the wars was more institutional than territorial: their enormous cost not only shadowed the king's last years, but helped shape the administrative and social evolution of the French monarchy. Yet they have been strangely neglected: this wide-ranging book is the first comprehensive study in any language since the eighteenth century. John Lynn examines the different wars for evidence of a coherent strategic policy; he explores the operational logistics of the campaigns; he shows how far, for the king, warfare was a process of attrition rather than a series of decisive events. Above all, he sets these wars, and their consequences, in their full diplomatic, military, administrative and institutional contexts.