This is a mostly great book but there are two big problems. First, he attempts to walk the line between narrative and rigorous history. Mostly, it is a narrative, but he regularly criticizes other historians' opinions and the implication is that they weren't rigorous enough (sometimes he is explicit in this criticism). But narrative history, like his, is inherently biased and less rigorous. Second, he assumes a general knowledge of the revelation and, especially, its aftermath, which means that the reader with vague, little or no knowledge has to look stuff up to fill in the gaps. It is incredible that such a long and detailed book could lack a big-picture perspective. Despite these qualifications, it is a good history, and it is enlightening, especially for those, like a friend of a friend I just met, who believe that there was much positive in this period of French history. It was a very, very violent and dangerous time and I don't know why anyone, except for privileged arm-chair intellectuals who do not know fear or violence, would look at it with fondness.