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The Pope's Legion

The Multinational Fighting Force that Defended the Vatican

Charles A. Coulombe

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

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.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Pope's Legion

"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

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Charles A. Coulombe

  • Charles A. Coulombe is a historian and commentator in both Catholic and secular arenas. Commended by Pope John Paul II for his book Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes, he provided narration for ABC News during the funeral of John Paul II and the election and installation of Benedict XVI. He is the author several books including a five-volume history of the United States for Catholic readers. Former Contributing Editor of the National Catholic Register, Coulombe won the Christian Law Institute's Christ King Journalism Award in 1992. He lives in Los Angeles.

  • Charles A. Coulombe
    Charles A. Coulombe
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    The Pope's Legion

    The Multinational Fighting Force that Defended the Vatican

    Charles A. Coulombe

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