The book begins with a discussion of the seventeenth-century practice by which kings delegated their authority to single all-powerful ministers (validos). A historiographical survey of research on royal favouritism and Spanish political history in the mid-seventeenth century is presented, along with an explanation of the reasons for writing a book about a group of ministers, rather than a biography of just one individual. The reader is given a foretaste of the content of the chapters, as well as of the book’s principal argument, which is that the perpetuation of international warfare during the mid-seventeenth century was a direct result of the minister-favourite’s attempt to find a solution for his domestic political problems in foreign conflict.
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