This comprehensive survey of the members of the Académie des Sciences to the 1750s takes up the challenge to search for 'a way to connect history of science with social and cultural history at the bottom (the level of the scientists) rather than at the top (the level of philosophical debate about science and culture)' (T. L. Hankins, 'In Defence of Biography: the Use of Biography in the History of Science', in History of Science, 17 (1979), 1-16). The book focuses primarily on the academicians themselves; and although it has much to say about the Académie as an institution, it does so in the light of the changing positions which the academicians occupied in the social hierarchy of early modern France. It explores the implications of those changes for the development of the Académie down to the mid-1700s, and it argues that throughout this period the relationship which the Académie had with the Bourbon regime and with French society in general, was governed to alarge extent by the personal circumstances of the academicians. Science and Social Status complements other major works dealing with the Académie, but differs from them in content, sources and method, and adopts a perspective on the Académie which is of relevance to historians of science and social historians of early modern France alike. DAVID J. STURDY is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Ulster.