The religious conflicts of sixteenth-century France, in particular the St Bartholomew's Day massacres of 1572, continue to draw a good deal of attention from historians. What started as a limited coup against the Huguenot leadership became instead a conflagration that left two thousand or more Protestants dead in the streets and ushered in a series of bloody religious battles. Previous histories of the religious conflicts have been preoccupied with their political aspects, but have not examined the mass violence. Diefendorf focuses on popular religious fanaticism and religious hatred. She examines the roots and escalation of the conflicts, the propaganda of Catholic and Protestant preachers, popular religious beliefs and rituals, the role of the militia, and the underground activities of the Protestant community after the massacres. Using a wide array of published and unpublished sources, she provides the most comprehensive social history to date of these religious conflicts.