With a bow towards old pron Ranke, Seeley and De Tocqueville, Germany's Ludwig Dehio enters the historical fight game with a sharp, sure, but always scholarly, blow-by-blow account of the four centuries-old European power struggle, ending with the 1945 knockdown and dragout of the long-run champs (Britain, Germany, France etc.) and the rise of the brawny new contenders, America and Russia. Against a boundary-splitting background, Professor Dehio, after acknowledging the State as the shaping force, explores its systems and strategies, from the Holy Roman Empire affairs of Charles V and Philip II to the reigns of the dashing despots (Louis, Peter, Frederick), onwards into the Revolution, Napoleon, the unification of Italy and the bid for Prussian supremacy. England's mistress-of-the-sea policy is viewed as the backbone of Europe's divisive tendency; now that that and similar geopolitical dreams are things of the past, it is Professor Dehio's hope that the continental countries will consolidate, thereby preserving themselves and world peace. A mine of information, stoutheartedly illuminated.