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Martyrs and Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Hailed as "entertaining" and "nuanced" by The Economist, Martyrs and Murderers tells the story of three generations of treacherous, bloodthirsty power-brokers. One of the richest and most powerful families in sixteenth-century France, the House of Guise played a pivotal role in the history of Europe. Among the staunchest opponents of the Reformation, they whipped up religi ...more
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published September 3rd 2009)
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The Guises are a family who may be unfamiliar to some but they were always involved in the web of drama of Reformation-era Europe. In fact, they were often the perpetrators spinning this intrigue. There is more to this family than just the Cardinal of Lorraine or Marie de Guise. Stuart Carroll explores this notorious family in, “Martyrs and Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe”.

“Martyrs and Murderers” is not a single-figure biography and instead presents an overall portrait of t
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it
The title is ironic for this ""it's not that simple"" reappraisal of the Guide-Lorraine family. Instead of the great Whig portrayal of them as villains in the French Wars of Religion, they were typical very successful dynastic builders of traditional religion who placed themselves in the middle of sixteenth century politics for the usual prize--money and maybe the French crown. But the Wars of Religion were about more than religion--the Guises were faced with clients who were far more fanatical ...more
Emmanuel Gustin
Jan 19, 2013 Emmanuel Gustin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history_france
The legend of the Guise family portrays them as ultra-Catholic radicals who stoked the civil war in France. Stuart Carroll goes a long way to modify this image. The Guise family certainly wielded major power through the church, as several generations of younger sons became cardinals who acquired an enormous income through the collection of numerous benefices, a practice frowned on by the reformation and counter-reformation alike. But despite that, many Guises were moderate in their religious pra ...more
Roman Clodia
Mother and uncles to Mary Queen of Scots; architects of the French Wars of Religion, including the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, the `black' legend of the de Guise family is the one most known to English readers. Carroll, a professor of Early Modern History, moves beyond that to give us a nuanced portrait of a great French ducal family who rivalled the Valois and the Bourbons to whom they were related.

Despite the lurid title, this is a good academic history of the de Guise family i
Dec 18, 2014 Elina rated it it was amazing
Excellent book written almost like a novel.:) It makes an interesting read, though not easy. There are lots of details, and their plentitude constructs the historical context. Which is rich, very well made. It's apparent that the author has both an excellent knowledge of this period of time and writing skills. A relatively unusual combination in scientific books.
Lyall Dawson
Jun 15, 2013 Lyall Dawson rated it liked it
For a person raised with a British view of history, it is fascinating to discover that just as various English monarchs felt they had a claim to the French crown, so some French felt they had had a claim on the English crown.
This book has very nicely completed the back story on a number of people who were minor characters in other books I have read.
Jul 08, 2016 Cate added it
Shelves: book-club, readharder
long sentences with confusing pronouns. also, everyone is named Charles, Louis, Henry, or Francis. All in all, an interesting look at a period I don't know much about. Assumes much prior knowledge, particularly of English and Reformation history.
Feb 03, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I was disappointed with this; the Guise are very fascinating and I learned quite a bit but it was work to make it through the book..
Melisende d'Outremer
A very detailed account of the Guise and their role in the political and religious scene in French history.
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