Placing Louis XIV in the context of his times, the author (retired history, UCLA) attempts no psychological analysis of the king and includes no discussion of the social history of the period. Admitting that standard political and diplomatic history is his forte, Lossky instead details the domestic, international, and religious policies of the Sun King, demonstrating that there indeed was an evolution and transformation of his political ideas over the course of his long life. The early chapters of this book should prove valuable to those interested in a general understanding of the period. The author's primary focus, however, is on the mounting tension between Rome and Versailles and on the overall failure of Louis's policies to establish Catholic uniformity in France. Specialists in French history will welcome this comprehensive, readable, and well-written political biography.