Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) ruled Imperial Germany from his accession in 1888 to his enforced abdication in 1918 at the end of the First World War. This book, based on a wealth of previously unpublished archival material, provides the most detailed account ever written of the first half of his reign. Following on from the author's highly acclaimed Young Wilhelm (1998), the volume demonstrates the monarch's dynastic arrogance and the wounding abuse he showered on his own people as, step by step, he built up his personal power. His thirst for glory, his overweening nationalism and militarism, and his passion for the navy provided the impetus for a breathtaking long-term goal: the transformation of the German Reich into the foremost power in the world. Soon the predictable consequences - constitutional crisis at home and diplomatic isolation abroad - began to make their alarming appearance.