i'll leave the other reviews to describe the substance of montaigne's book and his unique place in literature -- a favorite read of shakespeare and emerson -- and focus instead on the merits of this edition. this is the single best volume to own if you want to encounter the skeptical and humanist montaigne in english.
i am a fluent reader in the middle french of montaigne's text and own the "old" bibliothèque de la pléiade edition of his complete works. i'll say categorically that donald frame's translation is superior both to the older version by charles cotton and william hazlitt (pleasing for its antiquarian savor, but a hard slog for the average reader) and the recent versions by j.m. cohen and m.a. screech (both in paperback from penguin books). frame is much more accurate than all the others at reproducing montaigne's virile, brusque and improvisatory sentence structures, and best captures his lively and pregnant contrasts in the choice of vulgar, colloquial, informal, formal and ironically fussy expressions.
all translations (and, in fact, almost all french editions) modernize the text in various ways. translations break up montaigne's longer paragraphs, and use periods to separate the sentences strung together with semicolons, but frame is the least drastic with these and other "modernizing" changes, and best conveys the subtle changes in tempo that are characteristic of montaigne's style.
every edition of a "classical" text depends in part on a critical apparatus to clarify the historical period and the author's references to other works. the everyman editions are exemplary in choosing a noted authority to write the general introduction (here, the philosopher stuart hampshire) and in providing a synoptic chronology of the author's life with parallel columns for the literary context and historical events. the translator (frame) has penned a brief introduction explaining the history of the text, which evolved through additions and deletions across three major versions. these changes are indicated by superscript letters (A, B or C) which are essential in any edition of montaigne, as the later changes often take the train of thought into unexpected tangents, personal disclosures, or reconsidered opinions. (these comments apply to the "bordeaux" edition accepted as the definitive french text when frame made his translation, although frame also includes material from the posthumous de gournay edition, an advanced critical decision at the time.)
finally, this edition is handsomely yet inexpensively produced with a sewn binding under hard covers in slate blue cloth (a ribbon placeholder is part of the binding), and is printed on creamy, firm paper in an accessibly large type face. you will very likely want montaigne to accompany you across your life and this is an edition that will withstand both time, frequent reading, and your own mark ups and annotations.
unfortunately, there is in this edition no index to proper names or topics (unlike the original frame edition published by stanford university press). and this is not truly a *complete* edition of montaigne, as it omits the notations he made to the "ephemerides" of beuther, and the 57 latin and greek quotations that montaigne had engraved on the ceiling beams of his tower library. these classical aphorisms are something like an outline of his personal philosophy -- the single greek word "epekho" or "i suspend my judgment" perhaps summarizes them all. and this edition lacks citations to the original latin, greek and french works quoted inline by montaigne: it is annoying to stumble upon a remarkable quotation from juvenal, seneca, cicero, or plutarch, and not be able to locate the original version. these quibbles aside, this is a beautifully translated and handsomely produced edition of a remarkable and truly stimulating landmark in the genre of biographically informed philosophical essay.
i strongly encourage readers who enjoy montaigne to look into sarah bakewell's superb recent biography, "How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer", which is available at amazon and uses the pagination of this everyman edition to reference quotations from montaigne's essays, journal and letters.