In an excellent series, this is a rather different cross-section of history, for the Netherlands, throughout their long story, have undergone successive sectionings and partitionings and reorganizations. The result is a colorful panorama of domestic culture and foreign overlords,- Burgundy, Spain, Austria, France. Despite constant change, the Netherlands retained and developed a unique culture and made distinctive contributions to their conquerors- to the rest of Europe-indirectly to America. The Low Countries became the proving ground for Protestantism; the political changes in the name of religion were tremendous. A discussion of theologians and philosophers from Erasmus to Calvin naturally impinges on consideration of war and princes, holy and unholy alliances, migrations and emigrations. Religious ferment is but one aspect of the intellectual temper of a people, and in the discussion of the unique power of Dutch art, her navigation and trade, her secular and popular movements, feasts and famines, a rounded picture emerges of a people risen from a nation of burghers, dedicated to the cause of freedom. The main stress is through the 18th century, but there is a trenchant consideration of recent social and economic developments, including an inevitably favorable approach to the Indonesian issue....Not a quicky, but a serious approach to a somewhat difficult phase of European history, and tops in its field, vividly styled, energetic in presentation, rewarding the study.