The French Revolution marked the birth of modern Europe. From the storming of the Bastille to the horrors of the guillotine, the events of 1789 and after are among the most stirring and most disturbing in the continent's history. But what really happened in France during those turbulent closing years of the 18th century? And what does it mean for us in the 21st? This text tells the story of a nation's traumatic journey from absolute monarchy through the shadow of terror to military dictatorship. But it is also the story of a people's heroic struggle for the values of liverty, equality and fraternity, which stand at the very heart of today's democracies.