It is assumed widely that 'war made the state' in seventeenth-century France. Yet this study of the French army during the ministry of Cardinal Richelieu (1624–42) shows how the expansion of the war effort was not matched by army reform but by a reliance on traditional mechanisms of control. The army imposed a huge burden upon the French population, but far from being an instrument of the emerging absolutist state its demands contributed to weakening Richelieu's hold upon France and heightened levels of political and social tension. This is the first detailed account of the size, organization, recruitment, financing and control of the troops during this formative period of French history. The book also includes a detailed study of foreign policy during Richelieu's ministry, and places the training, deployment and fighting methods of the French army into the context of arguments for military change in early modern Europe. The title was runner up in the History Today Awards 2002.