A new analysis of one of the most calamitous conflicts in European history. 'War,' wrote Cardinal Richelieu, 'is one of the scourges with which it has pleased God to afflict men'. Yet the prelate's mournful observation scarcely begins to encapsulate the full complexity and unspeakable horror of the greatest man-made calamity to befall Europe before the twentieth century. Claiming far more lives proportionately than either the First or Second World Wars, it was a contest involving all the major powers of Europe, in which vast mercenary armies extracted an incalculable toll upon helpless civilian populations as their commanders and the men who equipped them frequently grew rich on the profits. Rarely has such a perplexing tale been more in need of a thorough and insightful account that is both compelling and informed, and no less comprehensible than comprehensive. AUTHOR: John Matusiak studied at the universities of London and Sussex before embarking upon a teaching career that eventually spanned more than thirty years. For over a third of that time, he was Head of the History Department at Colchester Royal Grammar School, founded by Henry VIII in 1539. He is the acclaimed author of Henry VIII (THP, 2012), Wolsey (THP, 2013) and The Prisoner King (THP, 2017).