Though he ruled over Spain at the peak of its "Golden Age" of power and influence, Philip II has long suffered from a negative historical image. Henry Kamen's book seeks to address this by providing a rounded portrait of a conscientious and diligent monarch, one who was surprisingly modern in many respects. Kamen succeeds in describing both the grandeur of Philip's reign and the many challenges he faced as a monarch, from a perennially impoverished treasury to the unrest and rebellion in the Netherlands. Yet the biography suffers from a lack of analysis: space used to detail innumerable processions and court intrigues would have been better spent explaining the operations of Philip's government or the factors underlying the problems he faced. This limits Kamen's achievement with this book, which demonstrates the need for a better understanding of this important ruler without fully meeting the demand for it.