Saturday, December 1, 1: Every culture has its great bread traditions for holidays and celebrations—traditional Christmas loaves from Ukraine, Greece, Germany, Italy and Scandinavia; celebration breads from France and Israel; Easter breads from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Austria to name a few. The book is chock-full of fragrant treats made for celebrations and special occasions. All the old standbys are here, plus delicious examples from around the world.
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Something of a curate's egg. In its favour this book is well written, and mentions a lot of information not available in other popular works. Presumably this information is garnered from the leaflets available at the various sites the author visited. He is particularly good at ferreting out locations that often go unvisited by those following standard Cathar trails.
Notable finds are the memorial at Lavaur, the well at Minerve, and the Chapel of the Rosary at Muret.
As well as providing easily digested information about the Cathars, this book will undoubtedly appeal to visitors unfamiliar with the spectacular area where the Cathars lived.
The author is also clearly sympathetic to the Cathars, as are almost all most authors of books on the subject with the notable exception of Jonathan Sumption.
On the other hand the author has clearly not done a great deal of historical research. The bibliography is spectacularly thin and there is little on Cathar doctrine. Mixed in with the usually reliable facts are several blunders and some notable omissions.
He is scathing about an English translation of a book by Michel Roquebert, apparently unaware that the original version which he could easily have found is an excellent work by a leading French authority on the subject.
He can find not the "faintest excuse" for the atrocity at Bram, clearly unaware of the similar smaller-scale atrocity by the other side shortly before. He quotes Arnaud Amaury, but does not know that Amaury is the source of the number 20, given for the men, women and children massacred at Beziers, imagining that someone had subsequently inflated what was in fact a later, lower, independent estimate.
He notices one piece of graffiti in Occitan, but must have missed dozens of others. He does not seem to be aware that the Counts of Toulouse came from St-Gilles, nor that the town was the fourth most important pilgrimage site in Europe.
Also, he seems unduly affected by the weather. If it rains in any place he visits, then he takes against it in an almost superstitious way. One gets the impression that if he had visited St-Gilles on a sunny day and learned of the close link with the Counts of Toulouse he might have formed a completely different opinion of the place.
Still, overall this is a good book. Recommended as an introduction for those new to the history of the Cathars.As a follow-up to Tuesday’s post about the majority-minority public schools in Oslo, the following brief account reports the latest statistics on the cultural enrichment of schools in Austria.
Vienna is the most fully enriched location, and seems to be in roughly the same situation as Oslo. Many thanks to Hermes for the translation from yunusemremert.com © by Alice Walker. Jews have always been involved. In my awakening. Long before I knew. Or cared. What they were.
It is this I will remember.
Whatever worsening plans. Sunday, December 2, pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers ().
Lee Dean and Rick Nelson sign The Great Minnesota Cookie Book. It’s cold in Minnesota, especially around the holidays, and there’s nothing like baking a batch of cookies to warm the kitchen and the heart. SCHOOLING Nowadays, army children are taught in proper schools, by proper teachers, and sit proper exams that, if passed, will give them recognised qualifications that will help them to progress in the world.
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