This new Seminar Study is a good, short book which tackles the fairly challenging subject of "Enlightened Absolutism". This term is used to describe a particular form of government which was peculiar to the second half of the eighteenth century. It was a European phenomenon and the main focus has always been on the so-called "enlightened" monarchs - Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick the Great of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria. Malcolm Crook's approach will be thematic and he won't look at the monarchs individually. Instead he will look at government and reform across continental Europe as a whole. He will address all the basic questions facing students: to what extent were the rulers and adminstrators influenced by the ideas of the philosophes? How far were the reformers successful at putting theory into practice? What were the obstacles facing the reformers and how far did they overcome them?