I couldn't miss this new book on early modern wars because I try to read everything on that theme and author's backlog was respectable enough to make me first-day-buyer (I heartily recommend his April's Blood book about plot against Medicis).
The book is interesting and well written. The author had put some real emotions into the text, but kept it moderate, so the book is far from dry but is not too irksome in pushing of moral appraisals. However, I am subjective here, because I share most of author's thought on state, war and their effect on society.
That is not a truly new research, because most of the book is based on modern historical monographs and articles and most firsthand accounts are well-known to the connoiseur of early modern warfare. It not a systematical research but rather a collection of grim anecdotes. The fault of the book is that after description of some curious event the author usually doesn't tell whether is was a typical or a rare case. For example, he used Peter Wilson's book on Thirty Years' War (BTW, highly recommended) but failed to line up his conclusions against Wilson's who debunked several myths about that war.
Nevertheless, a rare perspective in assessing the information gives a lot of novelty to the book in proper elucidation of the chosen theme. The book is dedicated to taking "war and society" approach to the exteme. You won't find here anything about generals, weapons, tactics or battles. All that is left is the grizzly grizzliness of war: plunder, plague, mortality rate, hunger, sieges, sack, violence, fate of civilians and poor soldiers. As such, it is a wonderful overview, especially for those who still have illusions about Europe's past and European mentality. Certain European brutalities of warfare are unique and thus really shocking to look at from other historical experience.
The essence of the book may be captured in the following quote:
"The monstrosities of the early modern state were most visible in Europe's great powers. They put huge armies into the field, as we have seen, but could not afford to keep them there, save by means of theft and violence against their own people, not to speak of what their armies did to other peoples. They tended to treat their ordinary soldiers like the scum of the earth, broke every contract with them, and yet demanded their loyalty or were ready to see them flogged, mutilated, branded, shipped out as galley slaves, or hanged when they deserted. [...] When their armies went unpaid or hungry, the plunder and ravaging of rural communities was also a norm for the great powers. And they often proved to be largely worthless in their efforts to handle the mortal questions of wartime logistics."
Basically, that book is an expression of shock and awe that the author felt by touching a theme that was new for him. If you have read John Hales' old book on Warfare and society in Renaissance Europe, you will find little new here. So, that book gives us impressions of a newcomer who notices some things that seasoned veterans of research on Military Revolution tend to omit because of being too accustomed to that sort of cases.