For centuries the Alps have seen the march of armies, the flow of pilgrims and Crusaders, the feats of mountaineers and the dreams of engineers - and some 14 million people live among their peaks today. In The Alps, Stephen O'Shea takes listeners up and down these majestic mountains, journeying through their 500-mile arc across France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia.
In 1300, the French region of Languedoc had been cowed under the authority of both Rome and France since Pope Innocent III 's Albigensian Crusade nearly a century earlier. That crusade almost wiped out the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians whose beliefs threatened the authority of the Catholic Church. But decades of harrowing repression - enforced by the ruthless Pope Boniface VIII; the Machiavellian French King Philip the Fair, of France; and the pitiless grand inquisitor of Toulouse; Bernard Gui (the villain in The Name of the Rose) - had bred resentment.