It's important to understand that this book, while influential in its day is now well more than 120 years out of date. Albert Sorel was an influential French historian who died in 1906. This book was published in the early 1890's and the edition read is the Herrick translation published in the U.S. in 1947. Modern historians honour Sorel's brilliance, but have at their access far more documentary and physical evidence than Sorel could have dreamed. This book is also but the 1st of an 8 volume series called << L'Europe et la révolution française>>, a massive research into the diplomatic and political history of the French Revolution and its effects on then contemporary Europe. Though not so clear in this volume, by today's standards he is viewed sometimes as an apologist for Napoleon and for a notion of "natural" borders that is difficult to sustain. This volume, being principally a diplomatic history shows little interest in the cultures or societies of the era, nor the painful effects of diplomacy and politics between nations on the lives of ordinary people as they suffered the trauma of war.