Emma Anderson

Feb 2, 2015

The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs

Harvard University Press 2013

purchase at bookshop.org Martyrdom, writes Emma Anderson, is anything but random. In beautiful prose and spectacular historical detail, The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs (Harvard University Press, 2013), takes readers on a journey of more than 300 years, exploring how a group of eight Frenchmen were selected from the amongst the thousands of victims of a brutal seventeenth-century encounter between natives and Europeans to become celebrated martyrs. Anderson explores the details of the deaths themselves, as well as the meaning of 'good deaths' in Iroquois and European cultures, before turning to the saints' afterlives, their continual remembering and reinvention in the "popular, protean collective imagination from their time to our own." Myriad voices come together in the book's pages, each one claiming and contesting the meaning of the Jesuits' deaths, continually refashioning the religious and national identities bound up in the politics of martyrdom.

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