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Massacre at Montsegur

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Funk & Wagnalls Co (January 2000)
  • ISBN-10: 0308600274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0308600270
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,381,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
ova50@aol.com from Northern New England , June 22, 1999 An ambitious topic, methodically addressed, less than fluid. I read this due to a broader interest in the period and theme it addresses: heresy, circa 1207-1244 AD, in southern France. The primary sources for the period seem to be somewhat limited and one-sided, history being written by the winners, etc., resulting in a less than fluid presentation, which starts off with considerable verve and enthusiasm, but somehow plods rather methodically toward the end. This is probably an easier period for a theologian to tackle than someone attempting to maintain historical credentials. The author initially takes a very supportive attitude toward the Albigensians - the Cathari - but of course they get wiped out in the end, more or less, so from a purely structural point of view, it is a difficult narrative position to sustain, and does not lead up to any sort of philosophical summation as to how this era of heresy emerged, what followed it, or what it meant in the larger history of western Europe. The book has an extensive collection of references to people and families, which would have been better presented in an appendix. I spent half my reading time studying maps, attempting to assemble a geographic continuity for the text - with mixed results. I suggest two French road maps for accompaniment, one at 1:1,000,000 and one at 1:600,000. The fortress of Montsegur would have benefitted from a scaled floor plan to accompany the speculations concerning its architecture. In general, I think the anti-Roman-Catholic theme which which the book starts could have been sustained throughout, and would have lent greater unity to the book. I read the entire book, and was informed by doing so, but I think a more consistent development of thematic material would have yielded a better and more emphatic book.
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Format: Paperback
"Massacre at Montsegur" is a compelling, historical account of 13th century France, the slow but methodical destruction of the people in the langue d'oc due to their religious beliefs and political system, and the bigotted attutude of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic church and the French kings. Their actions put Nazi Germany to shame. The famous words, "Kill them all, God will know his own," will send shivers down the most hardened spine. Zoe Oldenbourg has done an excellent job exposing the nature of the inquisition and it's motives for destroying a people who were basically no threat to anyone.
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