In 1618, the Hapsburgs were the greatest power in Europe. They controlled Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Spain, Portugal, most of Italy, Belgium, and the New World from Mexico to Chile. It wasn’t enough. The Austrian branch wanted Germany, the Spanish to reconquer the Dutch, but the Protestants of Europe rebelled. When the Catholic Hapsburg representatives sent to administer Bohemia were thrown from a window of Prague Castle, it was the catalyst for war. For the next 30 years, Europe tore itself apart. The Hapsburg powers almost triumphed in Germany – frustrated at the last, ironically, by the other great Catholic power, Bourbon France, led by the wily and unscrupulous Cardinal Richelieu. C. V. Wedgwood’s acclaimed work – hailed as ‘the ablest history of the war in any language’ by the American Historical Review – conveys all the drama and horror of a conflict that left 7,500,000 Germans dead.