I gave this three stars because, as one might imagine, it was a lot of work to finish. This is a long, long book about Europe in the 14th century. As a result, there are a lot of names and places to keep straight, and it doesn't help that everyone is named the same thing: John the II, the III, the IV. There are places where it flies right by, but you have to want to finish it.
Tuchman uses the device of choosing one man and using his life to illustrate the events and way of life of many people in the 14th century. In fact, the "way of life" parts were my favorite. I loved reading about the kinds of food people ate, the clothes they wore, their church attendance, their life spans; Tuchman gives space to both the peasants and the nobles and shows how they were different.