French Huguenots: From Mediterranean
Catholics to White Anglo-Saxon Protestants
by Abraham D. Lavender
Review by Patricia H. Frech
Originally published in the February 1999 issue of The Cross of Languedoc
About the Book
The interaction of sociology, history, and genealogy is the focus of Dr. Lavender's opening
pages, as he skillfully interweaves historical information with genealogical and sociological data.
His correlation of names and geographical data is novel and informative. Concisely reciting historical
facts, he follows Christian history from the 10th century and Huguenot history from the 16th; and he
integrates all of this information in a most readable fashion. His chapter notes, appendixes, and extensive
bibliography are helpful to laymen and historians alike. This reader wishes that he had explored more
thoroughly the unusual spiritual motivation that caused the Huguenots to leave comfortable hearths and court
danger and hunger on unknown shores. However, Lavender does depict the revival of this spirit during
the Second World War, when a small group of Protestants in a small village in southern France
shielded thousands of Jewish children during the Nazi occupation.
Numerous authors have written on this religious group, of course. Jon Butler's work shows that there
were a relatively small number of Huguenots in the 1685 Diaspora after the Revocation of the Edict of
Nantes. Samuel Smiles's study proposes that the best of France left with the Huguenots and that, with the
French Revolution a hundred years later, the nobility followed in their footsteps. Tessa Murdock's analysis
suggests a change of EAnglish character and abilities as a result of Huguenot emigration. Charles Baird
contends that they took with them "a love for liberty . . . associated with a tolerance learned in the
school of suffering." However, if a reader can have only one book in his or her library on the subject of
Huguenots, Lavender's should be the one.
This publication is no longer available from the author, and is out of print.
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