Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Very good, almost great
on November 18, 2010
This book is a cross between scholarly and pop history, leaning more toward the former. But it's so beautifully written and well organized, with a fascinating topic, that anyone with even slight interest in history would probably enjoy it.
Tackett opens the book with the amazing story of the abrupt end to the flight of King Louis XVI and his family. They were stopped in Varennes as they tried to pass through on their way out of the country during the third year of the French Revolution. Later Tackett details all that went into planning the escape, which is one of the most fascinating moments of the Revolution.
But the ramifications and aftermath of this attempted escape are even more important, and Tackett does a reasonable job explaining why. However, this is the one area where he falls a bit short. He argues that the king's flight and the aftermath led to the Terror, but he didn't spend enough time explaining why, which is surprising since that seemed to be a main part of his thesis. Nevertheless, it's a great read and highly recommended.