- An editor would have helped Mr. Treasure clarify just what type of book he was writing, either scholarly treatise or popular history. Though the book is marketed to the general public, the author seems to assume the reader has an extensive knowledge of French history under his or her belt. We required a couple of encyclopaedias to help us along, as well as complete genealogies of the Valois and Bourbons.
- An editor might have pointed out that end notes that refer to other pages in the book are not much help. Essentially, they say "I'll get to that later."
- A proofreader or fact checker might have caught typos and mistaken dates, such as that concerning one of the crucial events before the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day, the hanging of Philippe de Gastine, given as being in 1569 instead of 1571; or the transposition that places Achille de Harlay's petition to the king in 1589 instead of 1598.
- An editor would have guided Mr. Treasure's style from one that reads like a bumpy ride on a bad road (often giving the sense that we are reading his notes) to a smoother prose with greater clarity.
- The little Glossary is a nice touch, especially as Mr. Treasure sprinkles his writing with rather a large number of French words.
- A few maps would have helped.
- A chronology would have helped.
- A bit less popular psychology as an effort to explain barbarism would have helped.
In short, imperfect but essential.
Click on the cover in the right-hand column of this page to buy it.
©2013 Anne Morddel