The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars

by Stephen O'Shea | History |
ISBN: 9781861973504 Global Overview for this book
Registered by sorcha-sidhe of Quorn, South Australia Australia on 2/4/2010
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6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by sorcha-sidhe from Quorn, South Australia Australia on Thursday, February 4, 2010
"How many armed knights you'd have seen there, how many good shields cleft, what ribs laid bare, legs smashed and arms cut off, chests torn apart, helmets cracked open, flesh hacked, heads cut in two, what blood spilled, what severed fists, how many men fighting and others struggling to carry away one they'd seen fall! Such wounds, such injuries they suffered, that they strewed the battlefield with white and red". - An eyewitness account to the Battle of Toulouse, 1217

The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars is a splendid historical look at the 13th Century Crusade and Inquisition undertaken by the Catholic Church to rid the Languedoc of the Cathars.

The Cathars were a dualist Christian faith popular amongst the people of the Languedoc for their pious lifestyle of poverty, tolerance and spiritual guidance. They preached against the material world, and outwardly expressed their disapproval of the wealth accrued by the Catholic Church.

The Cathars were a truly amazing and resilient people, yet the indiscriminate force beared down on the people of the Languedoc by the Crusaders, and the cunning of the Inquisitors eventually saw the Cathar faith disappear and be relegated to the pages of history.

Stephen O'Shea's description of the events that took place during the this period of history are brilliant and read like a novel. Never does it feel like an academic textbook. O'Shea's determination to get the Cathar story right is evident from the first page to the last, and he goes to great lengths to debunk the myths about the Cathars that surfaced during the Victorian Era, were mis-used and abused by the Nazis, and embellished by the hippies in the latter half of the 20th Century.

The story of the Cathars is one violence, persecution, determination, and above all else: faith. It also acts as a reminder of "the dangers of the absolute", and is definitely a book that everyone should have taking pride of place on their bookshelf.

Ever since I'd first heard of the Cathars nearly 15 years ago, I've been searching for a book of this calibre to read. It took 2 years for me to track down a copy, and am so glad I persisted. It is simply fantastic.

Journal Entry 2 by sorcha-sidhe from Quorn, South Australia Australia on Friday, February 19, 2010
Will be starting its BookCrossing journey as a BOOKRING:

FLIGHTLIST as @ 22 Feb 2010:
sorcha-sidhe (AUST)
norfolk (AUST)
jean-sol (AUST)
MKtiny (UK)
rebeccaljames (USA)
nat4lee (USA)
rapturina (HOLLAND)<-- is currently here
[home to sorcha-sidhe]

Bookring instructions for participants are as follows:
1. Please journal when you receive the book.
2. Please try to have the book read within 4 weeks. This isnt always possible, so if it will take longer, please PM the next in line to let them know when you expect to have it out to them.
3. Please journal when you have finished reading the book - your thoughts and opinion on it would be most appreciated!
4. Please ensure you journal when the book is on its way to the next reader (PM them for their address).
4. To the last person in the ring: Please send home to sorcha-sidhe when done! Thank you.

Happy Reading!

Journal Entry 3 by sorcha-sidhe at Port Augusta, South Australia Australia on Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Released 12 yrs ago (3/1/2010 UTC) at Port Augusta, South Australia Australia

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On its way to norfolk as a bookring!

Safe travels, little book!

Journal Entry 4 by norfolk from Wongaling Beach, Queensland Australia on Friday, March 12, 2010
Received today, thank you. I will commence it in a day or two. Looking forward to reading and comparing with comparable literature.

Journal Entry 5 by norfolk from Wongaling Beach, Queensland Australia on Sunday, March 14, 2010
I was"introduced" to the Cathars probably 30 years ago by Arthur Guirdham in a separate pursuit.The times and people came very much alive (again) for me in this compelling account.Will be posted off today to jean-sol. Thank you sorche-sidhe for arranging this!

Journal Entry 6 by wingJean-Solwing from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Thursday, March 18, 2010
Arrived in Melbourne today. Perfect timing, I'm towards the end of a book and no other bookrings in sight, only a massive pile of TBR so I'll fast-track it and should get started over the next few days.

Journal Entry 7 by wingJean-Solwing from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Monday, April 5, 2010
This was a really interesting book. I knew nothing of the Cathars apart from the romantic notion that can be found around the South-West of France. So now i know a great deal more and was especially fascinated in the birth and development of the Inquisition and torture/interview techniques. Let's face it, some of it sounded very modern indeed. Still all in all living in the Middle Ages sounded pretty scary.
Thanks sorcha-sidhe for including me into this ring. I love reading books where I learn stuff!

Journal Entry 8 by wingJean-Solwing at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, April 5, 2010

Released 12 yrs ago (4/5/2010 UTC) at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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On its way to the next BCer on the bookring, MKtiny.

Journal Entry 9 by MKtiny from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Arrived this morning. I love the bookmark with the flightlist on. Can't wait to read this one.

Journal Entry 10 by MKtiny at Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I had to concentrate quite hard in the first couple of chapters in an effort to really understand what the Cathars were about, but after that, their story becomes fascinating. I can understand how their plight resonates in recent times; they were peaceable vegans who believed men and women are equal and shunned the trappings of the material world. Their fate at the hands of the crusaders was indeed a cruel one.
Don't miss out on the fascinating epilogue which details how the Cathars story has been somewhat hijacked by the new age, spiritual community.
I first visited Beziers, Carcassonne and Montsegur as a child, but I now want to go back in the light of this book and revisit.

P.S Why did they all have to be called Raymond? - Aaarrgghhh!

Thanks sorcha-sidhe for sharing. Couldn't get hold of rebeccaljames either by pm or forum, but maybe my pms got lost in the new system, so the book is now on the way to nat4lee. Enjoy :)

Journal Entry 11 by LastCavalier at Springfield, Virginia USA on Thursday, July 8, 2010
This book has arrived safely to my box today, and I'll be sitting down with it this weekend. Looks to be a fantastic read!

Journal Entry 12 by rapturina at Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, August 16, 2010
The book has arrived safely with me last week! I'm in the middle of another book, but this one shall be next. I'm looking forward to it, it looks fascinating!

Journal Entry 13 by rapturina at Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Sunday, August 29, 2010
I finished reading this a couple of days ago and thought it quite interesting. I was actually expecting it to be more about the Cathars themselves, not so much about their enemies, but found it an interesting topic nevertheless. I had some trouble keeping all the Raymonds and different battles apart, but there were some really interesting tidbits of information in this book which brought the Middle Ages a bit more alive to me.

Journal Entry 14 by rapturina at Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Thursday, January 12, 2012
I'm finally sending this book back to Australia today or tomorrow, I can't believe I've had it for so long! It's going back to sorcha-sidhe, thanks for making me part of the ring!

Journal Entry 15 by sorcha-sidhe at Quorn, South Australia Australia on Thursday, February 2, 2012
Received in the post from Rapturina 1/2/12.
Many thanks for returing this book!

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