This survey of European history covers a period of one and a half centuries which witnessed the beginnings of the contemporary world. In his account of the economic, social, intellectual, and governmental structure and development of pre-revolutionary Europe, Doyle stresses throughout the importance of economic and social trends, and places emphasis on the analysis of the structure of society as well as the narration of events. He shows how the contradictions of the old order contributed to a crisis which affected several of the major states in the late eighteenth century, when the growth of governmental power led to a series of clashes between governments and governing classes. Out of these conflicts, particularly in France, arose a revolutionary crisis. The nature of this crisis, and the impact of the change it produced, are examined in detail in the final section of the book. For this second edition, Doyle has revised the text of the book, and comprehensively updated the Bibliography.