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The Friar of Carcassonne: The Last Days of the Cathars Paperback – 10 May 2012


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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: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

O'Shea's vivid and evocative story of the extraordinary and moving career of Bernard Délicieux 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jo Brookes on 17 Sept. 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon Binning on 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book reminds us that those who act in the name of God usually act in the most un-godly way. They also tend to use the involvement of the Lord as a smokescreen to hide their more earthly based ambitions.
Here we have a French Monarch eager to suppress these Cather pests once and for all to finally consolidate a single, united kingdom under his reign. The Pope of course needs to eradicate these religious communities - they threaten to undermine the Church and it's authority - and in doing so, undermine his position.
Shout, "Heresy!" and every unemployed Crusader, crazed bigot, acquisitive real estate king and army, inquisitor, torturer and un-desirable cruel psychopathic crook will answer the call. And so they did, marching under the banners of our merciful god to show no mercy to anyone.
Together the King and the Pope represent a formidable duo. Not since The Templars were decimated have they acted so comprehensively to commit mass murder. Not since the destruction of The Templers was such a thorough decimation achieved.
This book is excellent. It takes us to the heart of Catharism with insight, warmth and sympathy and a very real sense of the loss of these individuals, their lives and beliefs.
Man's inhumanity to man - sadly this is a fine example.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By travelswithadiplomat on 18 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By Bling on 30 July 2013
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Bevan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating account. I had not previously heard of Bernard Délicieux, but on the book’s evidence, he deserves to be rather better known than he appears to be. Born sometime between 1260 and 1270, he was a Franciscan friar, an individual blessed with a strong sense of fairness - but living in a turbulent world. Defending the people of Carcassonne against the manifold injustices perpetrated there by the Inquisition (run by the rival Dominican order), he achieved a notoriety that brought him to the attention of French king Philippe IV. Anxious to secure the loyalty of recently-annexed Languedoc to France, the king took Délicieux’s side, though the friar was not successful in securing, quid pro quo, the release of those the Inquisition had unjustly imprisoned. In a battle that embroiled popes in the struggle against the French monarchy, and led Délicieux into an unwise alliance with the son of the king of Majorca (at that time ruling neighbouring Roussillon), the fate of this intriguing rabble-rouser was sealed when political and religious in-fighting led to his fall from favour and the dredging up of old accusations. Imprisonment, torture and death followed quickly.

Stephen O’Shea tells the story of Bernard Délicieux really well, in a wonderfully clear and engaging style, with a historian’s objectivity that keeps properly in check his obvious sympathy for the man. He vividly evokes the political and religious currents of the time, as well as the depradations endured by those unfortunate enough to suffer the attentions of the Inquisition – a thoroughly corrupt institution whose activities seemed more about settling scores and acquiring the property of the condemned than anything else. Colour photos of key sites where the action took place, as well as reproductions of artists’ depictions of some of the main protagonists, enhance the text, as do the fulsome references and bibliography.
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