With the load of good, readable books already available on the French Revolution, it's a bad sign when an author claims to be appealing to the general reader. Hibbert (Versailles) makes his fatal concession at the outset: he has organized his narrative around the ""big days"" of the Revolution and the big personalities that go with them. This gives him many opportunities to comment on how ugly Mirabeau or Danton or Robespierre was, and to lavish superficial detail on the daily lives of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (the tension is agonizing as we wait to find out if and when they consummated their marriage); but it represents several steps backward in writing about the Revolution. It also gives Hibbert an excuse for eschewing notes, so the copious ""eye-witness"" accounts of blood-spilling--not to mention blood-drinking--can go by uncritically, despite the notorious unreliability of such material in periods of social ferment. The result is an account that is about as nuanced and insightful as the film version of A Tale of Two Cities. Anything by Georges Lefebvre or Albert Soboul is preferable to this.