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The French Wars of Religion 1559-1598 (Seminar Studies In History)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The French Wars of Religion 1559-1598 (Seminar Studies In History).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    R. J. Knecht(Author)

    Book details


In the second half of the sixteenth century, France was racked by religious civil wars and peace was only restored when Henry of Navarre finally converted to Catholicism, deciding – in his immortal phrase – that 'Paris is worth a mass'.

In this lucid introduction to a complex period in French history, Robert Knecht:

  • Explains the evangelical and Lutheran origins of the Huguenot Church in France
  • Challenges simplistic interpretations of the religious conflict as purely a cloak for political rebellion
  • Provides concise analysis of the wars themselves and the ferment of political ideas which they generated
  • Evaluates the extent of France’s recovery under Henry IV

 This third edition has been updated throughout to take account of the latest scholarship, particularly on the Massacre of St. Bartholomew and the reign of Henry III when the monarchy almost succumbed to the challenge posed by the Catholic League.  There is a new colour plate section and the main text is supported by a full glossary of terms, maps and three detailed genealogical tables, as well as a carefully chosen selection of original documents.

Each book in the Seminar Studies in History series provides a concise and reliable introduction to complex events and debates. Written by acknowledged experts and supported by extracts from historical Documents, a Chronology, Glossary, Who’s Who of key figures and Guide to Further Reading, Seminar Studies in History are the essential guides to understanding a topic.

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Book details

  • PDF | 208 pages
  • R. J. Knecht(Author)
  • Routledge; 3 edition (10 Jun. 2010)
  • English
  • 6
  • History

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Review Text

  • By S. Smith on 11 December 2016

    The religious tumult that convulsed the country in the second half of the sixteenth century was an important factor in the development of early modern France. Although the period is conventionally divided into a varying number of wars punctuated by more or less fragile peaces, it can be regarded as a single period of chronic instability, because neither religious faction could gain its objectives, and it ended in a compromise peace of exhaustion, when the Catholics realised that they could drive out or exterminate the Protestants, who in turn accepted that they could not become the dominant force in France.Lutheranism made relatively little impact in France but in the 1540s and 1550s Calvinist doctrines were accepted by significant numbers of nobles and townspeople, so by the 1560s perhaps 10% of the population supported the reformed religion. These were active in attempting to convert the remainder, often forcibly, which led to disorder in several provinces and ultimately to a series of wars marked by considerable brutality against a background of a loss of royal control and the rise of factions led by leading nobles.Knecht’s book is one of a long-running series on specific historical topics, designed to fill a gap between brief summaries in general works and detailed research covering only parts of the relevant subject. It deals with the French Wars of Religion as a whole, covering the religious issues and social context in which they originated, giving a narrative of their course and summarising their effect on France in a conclusion. It is a remarkable work of compression, and its only fault is cramming too much in a small book so that the main themes can be lost in the detail. Nevertheless, it is a very good introduction in a single small volume.

  • By Ms. R. Barnes on 10 April 2007

    I've recently had to write an A-Level History course essay on this topic, and I don't think I could have managed without it.Without a doubt, it provided the most informative and in-depth look into the Wars of any of the books I could find in my school or public libraries.It's easy reading if you are fluent and enjoy reading, but also set in logical sections so if you struggle with masses in one go, you can limit yourself to a section at a time. (Brilliant!)The book considers the causes and consequences of the Wars also, and boosts a massive document section. Although I used few of these and instead dipped into areas I needed to.You could skip most of the Background to be honest, unless you are literally being introduced to the topic of religion in sixteenth century Europe.People in my class were literally arguing over this book because of its informative and sensible approach- as expected from the Seminar Studies range. Look out for them on other topics!

  • By Boyd Hone on 23 March 2013

    If you go in for battles, Robert Knecht's THE FRENCH RELIGIOUS WARS 1562-98 is for you. If you're interested in the political intrigue which is responsible for battles, if your bag is political motivation and political personages, if you want to know the whys and wherefores, as well as the Machiavellian side of man, you're wasting your time reading this thin tome. My own books are on Amazon under Michael Hone.


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