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Eight hundred years ago, the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians from all walks of society, high and low, flourished in what is w the Languedoc in Southern France. Their subversive beliefs brought down on them the wrath of Popes and monarchs and provoked a brutal 'Crusade' against them. The final defeat of the Cathars was horrific with mass burnings of men, women and children in the village of Montaillou in the Pyrenees.
Stephen O'Shea is a Canadian historian and journalist. His earlier books Back to the Front: an accidental historian walks the trenches of World War I and The Perfect Heresy: the Life and Death of the Cathars were acclaimed as popular history at its best. He lives in France. Click here for his webpage.