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The Friar of Carcassonne: The Last Days of the Cathars [Paperback]

Stephen O'Shea
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 May 2012
Nearly a century had passed since Languedoc had been put to the sword in the Albigensian Crusade, but the stain of Catharism still lay on the land. Any accusation of Catharism invited peril. But repression bred resentment and it was in Carcassonne that resistance began to stir. In 1300 a great orator emerged who brought together the currents of resistance. Three years later the terrible prisons were stormed and the inmates set free. The orator was a Franciscan friar, Bernard Délicieux. The forces ranged against Delicieux included the ruthless Pope Boniface VII, the Machiavellian French King Philip IV and the grand inquisitor of Toulouse Bernard Gui (the villain of The Name of the Rose). This magnificent book, which forms a kind of sequel to Stephen O'Shea's bestselling The Perfect Heresy, tells his inspiring life and tragic story.

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The Friar of Carcassonne: The Last Days of the Cathars + The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars + The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars 1290-1329
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683206
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'O'Shea's vivid and evocative story of the extraordinary and moving career of Bernard Delicieux rests on thorough and wide-ranging knowledge and shrewd historical judgement' (R. I. Moore, author of 'The Formation of a Persecuting Society')"

Book Description

Secret tribunals, illegal rendition, torture, trumped up charges ... all in a society controlled by fear. Such was the tenor of life in Languedoc around the year 1300. The dungeons housed hundreds of despairing innocents. The charge - heresy.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, readable history 9 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a really good book. Told in a very readable style, yet packed with fact and evidence. It does help if you know a little about the Cathars, but it would still be enjoyable if you didn't.
The story reads at times almost like a novel, and whether this is a good or bad thing depends on how you like your history. For me, it worked well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Power & religion - a poisonous combination 17 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked this, a relatively short book which shows how power, politic and religion combined to savage effect in early 14th century France. If I knew more about the Cathars and the political issues around the Languedoc then I would have probably got more out of it but even with my stunning level of ignorance I found it interesting (particularly the first half).

it gets four stars because it was a little dry particularly around the middle of the book, its for history buffs I think rather than generalists and you need to know about the Cathars to get the most from it - which is a warning not a criticism really.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delicious biography 18 Sep 2011
This reviewer has been an interested follower of Stephen O'Shea ever since he published "The Perfect Heresy" eleven years ago. A historian whose pen has been erudite rather than prolific, he is able to bring dry historical scholarship to his public in a manner that is both enthusiatic and accessible. So it is with "The Friar of Carcassonne", a text a scant two hundred pages long with a further fifty of Notes, that serves to bring a forgotten champion of the Cathar cause back to the conscious memory of History that he deserves. A Fransiscan friar who sought to correct the terrible wrongs he found in the actions of the Dominician inquistion during the turn of the fourteenth century, Bernard Delicieux is no "civil libertarian" but a man who "saw a grevious wrong and summoned up the courage to try and redress it. In this he was a man for all seasons-but still just a man." (pg204)
The story of Bernard Delicieux is the story of the final struggles of Languedoc to retain autonomy in the face of French pressures; the story of tumultous times for the Papacy; yet, ultimately, it is the story of one man's failure. A personal failure that represents a tale of heresy which, around the time of his death, led to the fall of the Templars and a huge schism in the Medieval Church as spiritual grace sought to consolidate secular power against the Kings of France.
O'Shea's text is divided into three parts. The first sixty pages are concerning the world of Bernard Delicieux. Told in a manner that successfully attempts to set the tones of anger and resentment that cut the undercurrents both of the world of Franciscan and Dominican friar, and of the Cathar Good Men and Women and the Inquisition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Friar of Carcassonne 30 July 2013
By Bling
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was much more factual and very dense . Hard going but nonetheless, fascinating.

I probably wouldn't recommend it unless someone really wanted to know about that particular time in history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars heavy going 22 Jun 2013
By Sandra
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book but in parts it was a bit heavy going. Not a relaxing holiday read, but a good meaty book.
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