The Pope's Legion
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 2009-11-24
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With Arthurian grandeur the Papal Zouaves marched into Italy in the mid-nineteenth century, summoned by the Pope under siege as the Wars of the Risorgimento raged. Motivated by wanderlust, a sense of duty and the call of faith, some 20,000 Catholic men from around the world rallied to Vatican City to defend her gates against Sardinian marauders. Volunteers came from France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Austria, and many other countries, including the United States. The battles that ensued lasted over 10 years, among a shifting array of allies and enemies and are among history's most fascinating yet largely overlooked episodes. Napoleon, Pius IX, and Bismarck all make appearances in the story, but at the center were the Zouaves--steeped in a knightly code of honor, and unflinching in battle as any modern warrior--as the Church they vowed to defend to the death teetered at the brink of destruction.
“Like an Indiana Jones movie, The Pope's Legion starts moving from the get-go and doesn't stop until the very last.” ―National Catholic Register
“With a makeup and passion reminiscent of the forces that fought the armies of Mordor in Tolkein's Return of the King, the Pontifical Zouaves occupy a little-known chapter in Catholic Church history. Coulombe tells their story in detail…Military aficionados will enjoy this as much as readers attracted by the Zouaves' connection to Catholic history.” ―Publisher's Weekly
“The Papal Zouaves constitute a fascinating, if previously neglected, chapter of the Church's history. The Pope's Legion tells a thrilling story superbly, and with the literary elegance and historical expertise we expect from Charles Coulombe.” ―Thomas E. Woods, Jr, Ph.D., bestselling author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
“In The Pope's Legion Charles Coulombe brings to life one of history's overlooked and more colorful chapters, evoking deeds of honor, sacrifice, and the deepest impulses of faith.” ―H. Paul Jeffers, bestselling author of Freemasons and The Napoleon of New York
“Charles Coulombe's fast-paced, compelling book, is a fitting tribute to the many Catholics from all over the world who offered their lives to preserve the independence of the Holy Father. It is a monument to their faith and to their ideals and a must-read for anyone interested in Papal history.” ―Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro Carámbula, Director, Human Life International, Rome
“This is a unique, original look at an often neglected part of our history. It's a good read - meticulously researched, well written, and full of exciting narrative detail.” ―John Prizer, former National Catholic Register film critic and film and television producer
“Like his earlier book on the papacy, this volume by Charles Coulombe is thoroughly researched, attractively written and historically accurate.” ―Msgr. Francis J. Weber, archivist for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and author of numerous historical works
Charles A. Coulombe is one of North America’s most respected and sought-after commentators on culture, religion, history, and politics. A specialist in the history and government of the Catholic Church, Coulombe’s influence and expertise extend far beyond matters religious. He has written on topics ranging from the history of rum to haunted houses to a history of the United States.
Mr. Coulombe is a social and political commentator of note. In 2005 he provided narration and commentary for ABC News during the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent election and installation of Pope Benedict XVI. A former journalist, Mr. Coulombe served as a film reviewer and Contributing Editor of the National Catholic Register, during which time he received the Christian Law Institute's Christ King Journalism Award. Coulombe's work has appeared in over than 20 journals, including regular columns in Fidelity (Australia), PRAG (London), Monarchy Canada, and Creole Magazine (Louisiana). He has also been a frequent contributor to such publications as Success, Catholic Twin Circle, Gnosis, FATE, and the New Oxford Review.
As an informed and passionate speaker on a wide variety of religious, social, political, historical, and literary topics, Mr. Coulombe has appeared on lecture circuits throughout the North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. In 1992 he lectured at Oxford University and the following year embarked on a lecture tour of Ireland and Great Britain, returning to Oxford and Cambridge in 1995. Coulombe has also delivered lectures at the University of Southern California on the history of Rock & Roll and at Cleveland's John Carroll University on the history of medieval monarchy. In February 2011, he was invited to take part in a debate on the abolition of the monarchy before the prestigious Oxford Union.
It is always wonderful to learn something new. I never new of the Zouvaves (not sure how to pronounce). It is a stirring tale of "toxic masculinity" in our current age that wants to denounce it. - strong faithful Catholic men from different nations going to fight and defend the Pope and the Papal States. Often they were outnumbered and outgunned yet they fought valiantly. Some strains of the Vendee in France and Christo Rey in Mexico are brought to mind.Thanks, Charles, for writing this.
Great read on an era in history little noted or understood by most of us in America. Though it told the story of the military units that fought for the beleaguered pope it also told a great deal of the unfolding upheaval (rise of the isms) that ended in the Franco-Prussian war and later still the first world war.
It was only kept from five star status because it was "meant to be" two volumes
I bought this books several years ago at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando, Florida. My joy in reading this page-turner stayed with me, and led me this year to see if Mr. Coulombe has presentations on YouTube (he does!). "The Pope's Legion" showed me the history of my Italian people that I never knew - that Garibaldi was really a dastardly Socialist and the Papal States were not the Pope's stranglehold on Italy (so thought Machiavelli) but were important to the independence of the Petrine Ministry. I was impressed with the great devotion of men from America to the Ottoman Empire who voluntarily risked life and limb for the Supreme Pontiff. This book helped me understand the tumultuous times of the 1800's pan-European Socialist revolutions, and was important to my recovering the Catholic mind which might have been lost had not my generation had in living memory an author such as Mr. Coulombe who possesses such a mind. As testimony to this book's splendor, know that I read this book at least five years ago and did not once refresh my memory when writing this review. Charles Coulombe, well done.