It took only a minute to make this head fall, and a hundred years will perhaps not be enough to produce another like it."" So said an eulogist after the French Revolution had guillotined Lavoisier, the Father of modern Chemistry. His exposition of the principles of scientific method in experiment (clearly outlined here) took chemistry from the hands of the inexact guessers and latter day al-chemists. His explanation of combustion exploded the phlogiston theory and established the role of oxygen in plant and animal respiration. The author makes it clear that dedication to science brought the 51 year old Lavoisier before the judges in the Reign of Terror. In order to support his studies, he invested in the Farmers General, that uniquely foolish system of collecting taxes through investing agents. Posthumously exonerated, his life story stands as an example of happy careerist pulled under by a political tide he could not understand. Well written and carefully documented.