King of Prussia, German Emperor, war leader and defeated exile, Kaiser Wilhelm II was one of the most important - and most controversial - figures in the history of twentieth-century Europe. But how much power did he really have?The acclaimed historian Christopher Clark follows Kaiser Wilhelm's political career from his youth at the Hohenzollern court through the turbulent decades of the Wilhelmine era into global war and the collapse of Germany in 1918, to his last days. He asks: what was his true role in the events that led to the outbreak of the First World War? What was the nature and extent of his control? What were his political goals and his success in achieving them? How did he project authority and exercise influence? How did the people view him?Through original research, Clark presents a fresh new interpretation of this contentious figure, focusing on how his forty-year reign from 1888 to 1918 affected Germany, and the rest of Europe, for years to come.