This book is an accessible and comprehensive study of the French wars of religion, designed specifically for undergraduate students. Drawing on the latest scholarship of a generation of social historians of the Reformation, the author presents a new analysis which goes beyond the partisan politics of noble factions and socio-economic tensions of early modern society. He argues that this long conflict was fomented by religious tensions among the population at large. While politics and socio-economic tensions were doubtlessly important, this book focuses on the social history of religion. By analysing the conflict as a cultural clash between two communities bent on defining the boundaries between the sacred and the profane in explicitly different ways, the author attempts to explain why the wars lasted for so long and why they ended in the way that they did.