This is a sparkling book which reveals much about the life and times of a man about which too little is known in our age. Frederick the Great (King of Prussian 1740-1786) militarily united much of the Protestant northern Germany under one crown--the Prussian crown. He did so while supporting the enlightenment idea of toleration of religious differences, at least in theory, and with the goal of making Prussia a major power in central Europe.
Frederick anticipated Napoleon by re-introducing the strategy of the attack to military theory. He laid much of the groundwork for the diplomacy of Bismarck which a hundred years later sould see Frederick's great grand-nephew, William I (reigned 1861-1888) crowned German Emperor in 1871.
Frederick was certainly an genius in some areas of his life. However, as this book points out, he inherited a lot of the tools that he would need for success during his reign from his father, King Frederick William I (reigned 1713-1740). For instance, the army that Frederck the Great used so devastatingly in the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and the Seven Years War (1756-1763), had been painstakingly built by his father.
Additionally, he inherited a close diplomatic reationship with the British crown from his mother, Sophie Dorothea of Hanover. Sophia Dorothea was the daughter of George I and brother of George II of England. Assured of English neutrality Frederick could have a free hand to deal with Austria during the Seven Years War of 1756-1763.
Asprey writes in a way that is entertaining and still relates a good deal on information to the reader. Because of this, his work on Frederick the Great is a welcome addition to anyone's library.