The Witch’s Bookshelf: The Perfect Heresy (Book review)


The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars by: Stephen O’Shea

People are in the opinion that history is boring, but that’s only because they’re reading all of the wrong books.

I picked this one off of a library shelf ages ago, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least, in fact it was full of deliciously rich stories, and as a warning most of them were terribly morbid, not the kind you forget easily.

O’Shea’s style is smooth as he transitions between here and now, and the sweep of the crusades against the Cathars, in what is now France. His historical accounts are detailed and fairly easy to follow, even perhaps for the reader who does not often indulge in historical tomes.

The Cathars, as it turns out, were as Christian as Christian goes, but still not Christian enough for the Catholic church. In fact they pretty much rejected the Catholic church’s way of doing business, even allowing Women to serve is some important roles (gasp). Even worse, people liked them. So as you can imagine, the church was in fits.

Let the inquisition begin!

Detail of the bloody wreckage, and brave resistance follows. Little pieces of it hearken forward to the terrible pogroms, and chilling world war two slaughter of the Jews, if you look hard enough.

I suggest this book if you would like to bone up on your influential history, or if you just enjoy a good dark, medieval story, because these surpass the classic Grimm’s tales, and are true to boot.

Just be advised, this book is not a light read, well worth your time, but not a light read.


Do you enjoy reading about history? If so what is your favorite book?

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