Monday, December 29, 2008

Newspapers Still Tiptoeing Around Cause of Vendee Massacre

This morning I read an article about the peasant massacre in the Vendee region of France during the French Revolution. It said that "the Vendée, a coastal department in western France, is calling for the incident to be remembered as the first genocide in modern history."

While I agree that the massacre was a genocide, the article bothers me because it doesn't tell the true cause of the struggle. I sent a link to Elena Maria Vidal at Tea at Trianon because she is a Catholic author/expert on the French Revolution. Her response is here.

My first introduction to the story of the Vendean Catholics was through Warren Carroll's The Guillotine and the Cross. It is one of the few books that I started but never finished. I couldn't finish it because it depressed me. I recognized too many parallels between the policies of the French Revolutionaries and the policies of the 21st century US government. Instead, I read Elena Maria Vidal's Trianon. I learned a great deal about the French Revolution from it and came away with a new respect for Catholic monarchy in general and Marie Antoinette in particular. I got Emma the sequel to Trianon, Madame Royale, for Christmas. I will read it as soon as she is finished.

The Tea at Trianon blog has been an incredible education for both of us. We read it daily. There is no charge for the wealth of information you will find there, but you can help support the site: Order Trianon and Madame Royale directly and pay a little extra to get them autographed.

For two book recommendations and more information on the uprising in the Vendee: The Heart of Darkness: How Visceral Hatred of Catholicism Turns Into Genocide by Anne Barbeau Gardiner.


elena maria vidal said...

Thank you for the kind words!

Emily G. said...

It has always bothered me that historians tend to gloss over and make little of the story of the Vendeans. So few Catholics know of it, too! Those people deserve to be honoured by Catholics today. I know a priest who is chaplain at a boy's school in the Vendee region. His school is just a few miles away from a mass grave of 6000 massacred Vendean men, women and children. He said the boys at his school often go there to pray, and he laments that the story of those martyrs is so little known.
Michael Davies wrote an excellent little book called "For Altar and Throne". It is published by the Remnant Press, and if you are really interested in the Vendeans it's a very good read.

lara77 said...

Thank you for shedding light on this one of many barbarous periods of French history.One sees even today how the French Republic trips over itself to placate the Moslems; yet Christians and Jews are always criticized. Yet, when the Nazi hordes in 1940 approached Paris the leaders of the THIRD French Republic were falling over each other to pray to God and HIS mother under the vaults of Notre Dame de Paris to save France. HYPOCRITES!!