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To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiegne Guillotined July 17, 1794 Paperback – November 1, 1999


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To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiegne Guillotined July 17, 1794 + The Song at the Scaffold: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: ICS Publications; Limited edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0935216677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935216677
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

When I visited Picpus Cemetery outside of Paris...it all became very real.
Marylou
I was, frankly, expecting the book to be a sort of textbook and difficult to read.
E. Carpenter
The author brings us into the scene of the event that changed France forever.
Christine A. Oakes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 87 people found the following review helpful By T. Avallone on August 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Let me just preface this by admitting my biases up front. I am a geeky Catholic academic who majored in history in college and this book was written by a geeky Orthodox academic. So if you fit into neither of those categories, it is possible that you might find this book either deadly dull or theologically offensive or both.
This is the true story of the 16 Carmelite nuns who specifically and actively consecrated themselves body and soul as a holocaust offering to restore God's peace to Revolutionary France that was then in the grip of The Terror. You may already be aware of the rudiments of their story from the fictionalized account by Gerturde von Le Fort "Song at the Scaffold" or the opera/theatrical production "Dialogues of the Carmelites." This book is the history behind those fictional accounts and acts to put a real face to these courageous women of faith. I cannot describe how deeply touched I was at the faith of these women. The account of their conduct from their "trial" to their execution was as heart-wrenching as it was uplifting. This was one of those stories that will forever resonate in my soul.
NOW....beyond the soul-stirring uplifting nature of this book, it was also darn good, well-researched, FASCINATING history. I look upon this book as the missing link to everything I have ever read on the French Revolution. Although admittedly as a specialist in Russian History, the French Revolution has never been big on my reading list. Every book I have ever read about the French Revolution seemed to be missing something (or maybe I just missed it) essential to my understanding of it. This is what I was missing....at the center of it all, the Republican forces were deeply committed to destroying not just the institution of the Church but religious faith in general.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By LuelCanyon on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a first-rate book, made important by intense and impeccable scholarship, and as well by genuine devotion on the author's part (himself an Orthodox Christian and an academic). William Bush's unadorned and concentrated understanding of the mystery of sacrifice hands this book a beautiful and finally essential aspect in revealing the holocaust of sixteen nuns against even Reason - Who bore the sons that made the madness. Bush wisely makes a book about more than religion and murder, and creates a perfect moving stream out of tidal events, making an awfully effective read. He takes especial pains to dissect the coming about of the holocaust from the view of innocents; the proposition of the choice to be made, the preparation, he even enters the interior lives of the Prioress and Mistress of Novices - aristocratic women living out the literal meaning of privilege. By keeping to the truth, Bush proves these women's gain of discernment and transparency, the silent witnessing so despised by the disciples of the Terror. This is a big book in a relatively thin guise. The author makes too much of the importance of Gertrude von Le Fort's fanciful tale, but his own commanding scholarship speaks for itself, and nothing can diminish the effectiveness of a magnificent effort. The cover bears a daring and beautiful photo of an oblation scene from a production of 'Dialogues of the Carmelites'.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By luxell french living in London .Artist de Profession on January 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a French national,I was introduced to the plight of those
sixteen women while browsing the Web a year ago . Born in the city where the event took place ,I remember well , as a young boy , people sneering aimlessly at those women ,whenever the subject was raised. As a child ,I felt the subject very obscure and confusing and never got round to ask my friends for more explanation.In my mind it was more or less about women in black hurrying along some cobbled streets in the old Compiegne of that time .In fact a film had been made of those carmelites with leading French actors and actresses ,and the news echoed round .Anyway I never got a chance to understand at that time the significance of it all and I must own up ,rarely thought much of it afterwards .I was only ten then . Later in life I came over to England and took with me a bit of the magic of my childhood as a remedy to my loneliness here.In july 2001,I noticed the book by W.Bush and decided to order it from America .
I was spellbound by the passion , work , scholarship and vision of this story . Despite the fact that I'm link sentimentally to the city of the story ,I instinctively feel that the book is a cry of beautiful courage by the Author .There's no doubt in my mind That William Bush "to Quell the Terror" is immensely more acurate than the story of
my childhood . Despite the respect due to all those who have found artistical inspiration during those two hundred years from the Carmelites of Compiegne , they brought confusion to the historical facts , to the point of measleading many french people into believing the "Dialogue of the Carmelites" being the true "Story" .I'am thankful to W. Bush for having reawaken me to my childhood past, and last Christmas I went back to Compiegne along the old streets , and on to the old convent place (the original convent doesn't exist anymore ).I regretted bitterly to be so late for a last "adieu".
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By L. Rogge on March 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This work would have benefited from editing. It tends to jump from person to person, place to place, time to time. Nevertheless it is the first work I have had the good fortune to read that is unafraid to expose the underlying causes of the French Revolution, and to reveal something more than the popular characterizations of its leading actors.
The sixteen women who are the focus of this account are true heroines, true martyrs of the Revolution. The author has done us a great service in providing non-fictionalized biographies of these Carmelite nuns - they represent sincere people from every walk in life who are determined to follow their consciences no matter what 'everyone else' may think and do.
May their history inspire our compatriots to imitate their example, cost what it may.
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