Jean-Marc Moriceau
La Bête du Gévaudan (The Beast of Gevaudan)

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At the time of the Enlightenment, one of the most remote areas of France was caught up in a traumatic situation which lasted for three years and caused feelings to run high. The 'Beast' of Gévaudan attacked and killed dozens of people, mostly women and children, and dragged their bodies off into the forests to devour.

What was this monster, which the most skilful hunters in the kingdom were sent to track down? The mass of differing theories have done just as much to obscure the events as to cast light on them; high time, then , for a proper historian to re-examine the facts. Jean-Marc Moriceau, a recognised authority on rural life and on the relationship between wolves and humans, has taken up the challenge.

In the pages of his account, a forgotten land comes back to life: a society marked by harsh inequality, where strangers are treated with suspicion; a society in which people barely manage to eke out a living , and that only by dint of constant toil. As we read through the original archives, we get to know more about every one of the young individuals who were caught up, between the years of 1764 and 1765, in the greatest calamity in the entire history of the province.

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