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The Grand Strategy of Philip II

Professor Geoffrey Parker

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ISBN 10: 0300075405 / ISBN 13: 9780300075403
Published by Yale University Press, 1998
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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First Edition. Fine hardcover with fine dust jacket in new Brodart jacket. Splendid copy - unmarked, bright and clean - binding tight and square. First edition. First printing. Enjoy reading with a real book in your hands. Shipping from North Carolina. Dedicated to delighting our customers. Delivery confirmation provided on all domestic orders. Happy to ship to international locations. Consider expedited shipping - just a little more moves your purchase a lot faster. Digital photos available on request for any book. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000023236

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Grand Strategy of Philip II

Publisher: Yale University Press

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


From 1556 until his death in 1598, Philip II of Spain ruled the first global empire in history. This book investigates the strengths and weaknesses of Philip's strategic vision, the priorities that underlay his policies, the practices and prejudices that influneced his decision-making, and the external factors that affected the achievements of his goals. Geoffrey Parker begins by examining the defining charactersitics of Spain's strategic culture: the king's disticntive system of government; the "information overload" that threatened to engulf it; and the various strategic priorities and assumptions used to overcome the disparity between aims and means. He then exploits the surviving documentation - from the Hasburgs, their allies, and their adversaries - on the formation of strategy in three crucial case studies: Philip's unsuccessful efforts to maintain his authority in the Netherlands; his defective peacetime management of foreign relations with Scotland and England; and his failed Armada campaign against England. Finally, Parker examines the small but fatal flaws in the execution of Philip's Grand Strategy, assesses the reponse of the king and his ministers to their failures, and questions whether the outcome might have been different with other policy options, another ruler, or a different strategic culture. Pointing to modern parallels between Philip's problems of governance and those facing Hitler and Churchill, or Kennedy and Johnson, this book provides a commentary on the nature of empires and the decision-making processes of the great powers.


In the second half of the 16th century, Spain's Philip II ruled over the original empire on which the sun never set. In Europe alone, he held power over Portugal, the Netherlands, and about half of Italy (including Sicily, the Duchy of Milan, and the Kingdom of Naples). On the African shores of the Mediterranean, he controlled Tunis and Tangier; further south were Guinea and Angola. There were holdings in India and--well, naturally--the Philippines, and in the Western hemisphere, there were Florida, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, and "New Spain," which occupied the modern American Southwest and all of Mexico and Central America.

Most historians have claimed that, in overseeing this empire, Philip had no "Grand Strategy," but instead occupied himself with perpetual reaction to events. But Geoffrey Parker believes that there was a "strategic culture" that influenced Philip's reign, and he makes extensive use of surviving correspondence from the period to demonstrate how that culture revealed itself in Spain's attempts to hang onto the Netherlands and in its relationship--diplomatic and martial--to England. The Grand Strategy of Philip II is a richly detailed history, which will reward any student of modern statecraft with its insights into geopolitical power.

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