William Doyle, the author of the classic text on the French Revolution, guides the reader through a historical event of such import and consequence that we are still living with its developments today. Beginning with a discussion of the familiar images of the French Revolution, Doyle continues on to a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed. Proceeding, Doyle elucidates how the revolution happened: why the revolutionaries quarreled with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general. This compelling Very Short Introduction looks at how the ancient regime that the revolution destroyed had become so entrenched and also examines cases in which revolutionary achievement failed to match ambition. Finally, Doyle explores the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government, finishing his examination with a discussion as to why this event has been so controversial.