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Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error

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Reviews of Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error

Overall customer rating: 3.000
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A disappointment to me, but . . .

by readmorebooks on May 15, 2011

I bought this book because it was recommended in another book as the best book about the Cathars (Albigensian heretics of the Pyrenees area). I thought it would explain the belief system of the Cathars with some degree of sympathy. It does not. it definitely takes the part of the Inquisition and actually does not talk so much about the Cathars as about life circa 1300. Even that part, which I was also interested in, is badly done. I got the impression the author put lots of fact on index cards, threw them around the room, and then randomly assembled them into chapters. A bit of an exaggeration, but I think it makes my point. Nevertheless, if you can slog through some rather deadly prose and lots of confusing asides, the book does give a unique picture of life in what is now southern France at the beginning of the 14th century, with some details about the Cathar/Albigensian heresy, and it is very squarely based on records of the time. I could not have read the Latin inquisitors' records, so this is the closest I can come to touching the facts of that place and time.

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