This book "is consummately researched, painstakingly annotated and written with a wealth of detail delivered with scholarly precision. It serves many functions: to correct the literary invective directed at Old Regime nuns by naysayers guided entirely by prejudice rather than evidence, and the hagiographical works produced by defensive nuns themselves. It serves as a resource for a social history of nuns' daily life as well as a narrative of that history" (p.). "When young girls flocked to congregations dedicated to teaching them for free, they and their teachers transformed French history as well as society's response to female education" (p. 94). "Part 1 ... ends with the Revolutionary dismantlement of monasticism, the flight of many older nuns back to 'society' and the resolve of younger ones to remain in communities, and finally the mob attacks on religious houses that forced all inside to flee. Part 2, based mainly on the writings of religious women themselves, focuses on the daily life of the subtitle" (p. 95). "The final chapters, 'The Institute' and 'The Pensionnat", describe the teaching nuns' work. .... 'A Social History of the Cloister' is a fascinating addition to women's history, and will serve as a valued reference book for anyone interested in studying women's life in the Old Regime" (p. 96).