Laura's Reviews > The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Spectacular Death of the Medieval Cathars

The Perfect Heresy by Stephen O'Shea
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Jun 23, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from March 30 to June 10, 2011

The Cathars are a fascinating subject that, going in, I didn't even know existed. However, this book is just not written in a way that sustained my interest. Mr. O'Shea is obviously highly literate, and there are no editing errors that I came upon, but it just wasn't written very well. I was also irritated when I reached the footnote section. There was nary a hint that there were footnotes as I was reading, and for the best comprehension, I think footnotes should be read at the point to which they are relevant.
I'm also confused by the Ottawa Citizen's review: "This is a road book from the same neck of the woods as Bill Bryson in England and Bruce Chatwin in Patagonia". Except for a short section in the first chapter where he first visits Albi with his brother and the last section of the epilogue where he discusses visiting Montségur, this is not written in the first person. There is the odd landscape description, but this is most certainly not a road book. It makes me wonder if the reviewer even read the book.
There doesn't seem to be that many books on the Cathars, and this one was certainly well researched. If you have an overwhelming desire to know more about the Cathars than you can learn by scanning the Wikipedia article, then I guess this may be a good book for you. But as a starting point, or if you think that this is from the road book genre, I can't recommend this book.
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Reading Progress

03/31/2011 page 44
13.0%
06/07/2011 page 222
67.0% "I'm finally past the repetitive, gory section. I'm actually starting to enjoy this book."
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