Summary ´ The Witches Salem 1692

Stacy Schiff Ò 8 characters

Emote rocky barren bushy wild woody wildernessWith devastating clarity the textures and tensions of colonial life emerge; hidden patterns subtly startlingly detach themselves from the darkness Schiff brings early American anxieties to the fore to align them brilliantly with our own In an era of religious provocations crowdsourcing and invisible enemies this enthralling story makes sense than ever The Witches is Schiff 's riveting account of a seminal episode a primal American mystery unveiled in crackling detail and lyrical prose by one of our most acclaimed historian The Salem witc Los ritos del agua: Trilogía de La Ciudad Blanca 2 (Autores Españoles e Iberoamericanos) of colonial life emerge; hidden patterns subtly startlingly detach themselves from the darkness Schiff brings early American anxieties to the fore to align them brilliantly with Heads, Features and Faces (Dover Anatomy for Artists) our Evolve Level 4 Students Book own In an era Professional Daily Fantasy Football of religious provocations crowdsourcing and invisible enemies this enthralling story makes sense than ever The Witches is Schiff 's riveting account Stories for Boys of a seminal episode a primal American mystery unveiled in crackling detail and lyrical prose by Mountain City one Untitled (The Trials of Apollo, of Extracted our most acclaimed historian The Salem witc

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The Witches Salem 1692

Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff author of the #1 bestseller Cleopatra provides an electrifying fresh view of the Salem witch trialsThe panic began early in 1692 over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter when a minister's niece began to writhe and roar It spread uickly confounding the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony Neighbors accused neighbors husbands accused wives parents and children one another It ended less than a year later but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to deathSpeaking loudly an I have really My Brothers Love of the #1 bestseller Cleopatra provides an electrifying fresh view La casa que arde de noche of the Salem witch trialsThe panic began early in 1692 Black woman black life over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter when a minister's niece began to writhe and roar It spread uickly confounding the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony Neighbors accused neighbors husbands accused wives parents and children Los ritos del agua: Trilogía de La Ciudad Blanca 2 (Autores Españoles e Iberoamericanos) one another It ended less than a year later but not before nineteen men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to deathSpeaking loudly an I have really

review ¿ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ò Stacy Schiff

D emphatically adolescent girls stood at the center of the crisis Along with suffrage and Prohibition the Salem witch trials represent one of the few moments when women played the central role in American history Drawing masterfully on the archives Stacy Schiff introduces us to the strains on a Puritan adolescent's life and to the authorities whose delicate agendas were at risk She illuminates the demands of a rigorous faith the vulnerability of settlements adrift from the mother country perched at a politically tumultuous time on the edge of what a visitor termed a r i'm still chip


10 thoughts on “The Witches Salem 1692

  1. says:

    This book a historical account of the Salem witch trials by an author whose prior work has been highly acclaimed turned out to be a long winded and tedious disappointment I regret the many hours I spent slogging through itSchiff takes a textbook like approach to the writing throwing facts and assertions at the reader without connecting them through any meaningful narrative We learn little about the accusers and victims; those curious about the lives personalities and motivations of the people most directly involved will be disappointed There is information about the witchcraft judges and the local ministers – in fact perhaps the two most discussed figures are Increase and Cotton Mather prominent ministers who were not present for any of the events in Salem Lengthy accounts of accusations and confessions are included relating fanciful stories as if they were true “Skimming groves of oak mossy bogs and a tangle of streams Anne Foster sailed above the treetops over fields and fences on a pole Before Foster on the pole sat Martha Carrier half Foster’s age and the dauntless mother of four Carrier had arranged the flight She had persuaded Foster to accompany her; she knew the way”Many pages are spent paraphrasing such accusations but very few on analysis The book has no organizing principle or thesis focuses on no key figures and has almost nothing to say about why the events in Salem might have occurred And the writing style makes for laborious reading; it alternates between drowning the reader in details whose import to the larger picture is unclear and wallowing in wordy abstractions that utterly fail to enlighten It is often repetitive and sometimes jumps between ideas that have no apparent connectionI give a second star because the book appears to be well researched and I did learn some information about colonial New England It sheds light on the strains placed on the community such as deadly Indian attacks nearby; many of the young accusers were refugees or orphans We also learn a bit about life at the timeBut despite the lengthy bibliography the author makes sweeping generalizations that hurt her credibility; for instance she claims the Salem witch trials were one of few occasions that women played a key role in American history and that after Salem women “went back to being invisible where they remained historically speaking until a different scourge encouraged them to raise their voices with suffrage and Prohibition” Women were invisible and had no effect on history in all of the 18th and 19th centuries? Harriet Beecher Stowe Susan B Anthony Elizabeth Cady Stanton Harriet Tubman Louisa May Alcott Sojourner Truth Clara Barton Belle Boyd Dorothea Dix Charlotte Perkins Gilman Lucretia Mott Elizabeth Van Lew Sacagawea and many would beg to differFor that matter the Salem witch trials themselves were a local event occurring in a few small towns; it would be hard to argue that any of the women or men involved had much impact on American history especially compared with those listed above Salem represents neither the first nor the last time people were executed for witchcraft in America and while with its 20 executions Salem claimed the greatest number of victims at once it pales beside many European witch hunts Perhaps my frustration with this book has soured me on this piece of history but having read The Witches it is even less clear to me why Salem has gained such a foothold in the national imaginationUltimately Schiff can’t explain Salem nor can she make it interesting Instead she gives us a 400 page summary of her research then explains that we have too little information to know why anything happened as it did In other words as far as I'm concerned it's a whole lot of nothing Those with a keen interest in the witch trials may find it worthwhile but for the general reader looking to be informed and entertained by well written engaging historical accounts this is one to avoidEDIT The New York Times said it better


  2. says:

    When you predicted an apocalypse you needed sooner or later to produce one Stacy Schiff attempts to provide a coherent review of an incoherent time IN 1692 THE Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women five men and two dogs for witchcraft Salem Massachusetts is infamous even today for being the location of the most publicized witch hunts in AmericaSchiff delves into records unearths personal journals and interviews experts of today in an attempt to explain how neighbors friends and families were so uick to turn on each other and commit their own flesh and blood to torture She speaks of the times and how that influenced the witch hunt a strictly Puritan township that emphasized purity faith humility and a healthy respect for knowing one's place The witch hunt stands as a cobwebbed crowd sourced cautionary tale a reminder that—as a minister at odds with the crisis noted—extreme right can blunder into extreme wrong Women were expected to know their place and to love being in it witchcraft offered a means of escape and powerIn addition witchcraft was also used as a catch all to explain the unexplained Faith aside witchcraft served an eminently useful purposeIt made sense of the unfortunate and the eerie the sick child and the rancid butter along with the killer cat And why address larger problems when you can use a such a convenient explanation? Witchcraft tied up loose ends accounting for the arbitrary the eerie and the unneighborlyI enjoyed this oneI remember being absolutely obsessed by the Salem witch trials in middle school and was horribly disappointed when I found so many conflicting stories and evidence that ultimately didn't pan outSo I was both surprised and and delighted to get such a well rounded picture of what happened actually during this time Everything was cited and fully researched any speculation was based on solid evidence definitely something that made the book stand outThe details did get a little too much about halfway through and I could feel my interest waning slightlybut the author did pull the book together in the endUltimately Schiff provides an interesting investigative look into inexplicable time in America's history We all subscribe to preposterous beliefs; we just don’t know yet which ones they areAudiobook CommentsRead by Eliza Foss and she really brought the book to life She had excellent tone and pacing throughoutYouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat mirandareads Happy Reading


  3. says:

    I have really been into non fiction lately and this is a TOME ladies and gentlemen Impeccably researched sometimes to it's fault but fascinating and depressing at the same time I particularly loved how I could really place myself in the world of 17th century America And it is weirdly reflective of our culture right now in some ways? Where you see a whole society swept up in a fevor of attacking each other against all logic Truth was malleable and innocent people were killed It goes to show we have an amazing capacity to as a group let emotion trump logic Often to sad conseuences


  4. says:

    There’s probably no event in American history that looms so large in proportion to its size and impact than the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 93 All told in less than a year some 185 people in Salem were accused of witchcraft; there were 59 trials; of those trials there were 31 convictions; and of those convictions nineteen people were hanged Giles Corey was pressed to death There were no burnings In the grim mathematics of history twenty deaths over the course of several months is not exceptional Indeed King Philip’s War had only recently ended by the time the Witch Trials began That frontier conflict between New England colonists and Wampanoag Indians killed roughly one in ten military age participants Yet King Philip’s War is something you might hear about at bar trivia on Thursday night “What is the bloodiest war in proportion of population in American history?” while the Salem Witch Trials endure in popular culture Why?One answer is that we might feel a certain smugness towards those morally upright psychosexually tortured Indian shy Puritans who allowed themselves to be led by the nose by a gaggle of adolescent girls shrieking about neighbors flying on broomsticks And yet over 300 years later we still cling to ridiculous beliefs ourselves very often to our own detriment More likely the lasting fascination with the Salem executions is the way it presents such a wonderfully blank canvas upon which to act out our own morality plays We know some things about the trials since the Puritans were inveterate scribblers But there are huge gaps in the story The chief scribe Cotton Mather wasn’t even an eyewitness All the trials were transcribed but those transcriptions were lost likely when the American Revolution erupted in Boston Some of the major participants in the story flit only briefly across the stage and then are lost to the shadows of time This is fertile ground to surmise invent and interpret as Arthur Miller did to such great effect Stacy Schiff has fun with this reality in her highly entertaining The Witches Salem 1692 This is an engaging book with bantering oft witty prose that is also heavily researched as is attested by the annotated notes It is solid history – Schiff is a Pulitzer Prize winner – that doesn’t take itself too seriously On one page there might be a serious dissection of Mather’s Wonders of the Invisible World while on the next there might be lighthearted comparisons to The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter Schiff’s story opens in late January 1692 during a brutal winter It began over a week of inky black nights with prickling sensations Abigail Williams the reverend’s blond eleven year old niece appears to have been afflicted first Soon enough nine year old Betty Parris exhibited the same symptoms The cousins complained of bites and pinches by “invisible agents” They barked and yelped They fell dumb Their bodies shuddered and spun They went limp or spasmodically rigid Neither girl ran a fever; neither suffered from epilepsy The paralyzed postures alternated with frantic indecipherable gestures The girls launched into “foolish ridiculous speeches which neither they themselves nor any others could make sense of” They crept into holes or under chairsNeither appeared to have time for prayer though until January both had been perfectly well behaved and well mannered At night they slept like babiesIn telling the story of Salem which has been rendered in so many ways Schiff has triple duty She has to tell us what we know She has to tell us what we don’t know And she has to puncture lingering myths the inflated role of Tituba the fact that no witches were burned at the stake That’s a lot of work for a writer historian especially one that also wants to entertain She does it all with style Schiff is a meticulous historian and she is very careful often within the narrative to explain where her story is coming from I liked how she created a psychological context for the Witch Trials She explains the darkness of the nights the boredom of daily life and the constant paralyzing fear of Indian attack She displays an ability a keen empathy to imagine what it might have been like to live in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692 She is careful to weigh the credibility of witnesses the veracity of evidence and to acknowledge when she has to speculate Schiff also does a good job dealing with the larger forces at work and I’m not talking about the Devil A lot of things fed into the hysteria and reprisal at Salem and even though nothing can be pointed at as the definitive answer to this calamity it is reasonable to assume all of it played a part There was to begin the local disputes over boundary lines grazing rights and who was going to provide the town’s minister with his allotted amount of firewood The Puritans were a moody prickly lot uick to run to court You can see how the uarrel between Salem Village now Danvers and Salem Town now just Salem played into the trials Politics also played a role At the time of the Witch Trials a new charter had just been approved for Massachusetts Bay The old charter had been vacated in 1684 by King James II who installed a governor who was ousted five years later after which time the colony operated without any constitutional authority The new governor William Phips arrived in the midst of the frenzy and immediately set up a special Court of Oyer and Terminer to try the witches Legal Note If hauled before a Court of Oyer and Terminer you are screwed In creating the court he followed the prevailing political winds; likewise when he finally ended the court This is a thorny complicated story made difficult – as Schiff points out – by Puritan fondness for reusing the same names The complexity can sometimes be made pronounced by Schiff’s dizzying style The Witches has many virtues but organization is not one of them Schiff has a tendency to be all over the place trading a certain stylistic panache for a narrative anchored in a firm chronology It’s fun to read but important concepts can be lost or under stressed There is also a certain amount of sloppiness For instance early on Schiff writes “a wife and daughter denounced their husband and father” and then three lines later contradicts herself by writing that “only fathers and sons weathered the crisis unscathed” Also the chipper digressions found in her footnotes eventually started to irritate by interrupting the flow of the story These are small complaints This is the kind of book that drives academic historians hate probably because it’s bound to be so popular There are traditional histories out there if that is your bent I’ve read Frances Hill’s A Delusion of Satan which is 224 pages shorter than The Witches A Delusion of Satan is perfectly readable digestible and informative But it’s not memorable It gave me the facts of Salem; it did not give me the essence There is nothing so lifeless in history as a hyper religious hyper litigious fun hating narrow minded Puritan It’s hard to bring such dour sour two dimensional objects to life especially with the paucity of sources at hand It is Schiff’s great accomplishment that she manages to do so Salem has always been a uintessentially human drama rife with all the foibles slights vendettas and assumptions that entails Schiff captures that humanity which is hard to do with any history much less the unsmiling Puritans that stare at us from their portraits which portraits are included – in color – in this generous volume


  5. says:

    i'm still chipping away at this book but sean of the house decided he wanted to read it too so there's been a bit of a tug o war going on but as soon as he turns his back it's MINE again


  6. says:

    1 star to Stacy Schiff's The Witches Salem 1692 It is rare that I cannot finish a book especially when it's on a topic that I find fascinating but after multiple attempts I can't leave this sit on my night table any longer It mocks me because it has wonThe Salem Witch Trials are such an historic part of our country and I've read numerous articles or viewed multiple TV shows or movies depicting this time period; however this book fell short in capturing my attention I'm sure for the right person it will have a higher ranking but I have to place it back on my shelf as a book to donate rather than truly finish A mix between reality and fantasy it is too incongruous to stay focused You go several pages focusing on a narrative describing the facts and then you are dropped into an imagination of what someone thinks a witch is doing You're given so many facts to interpret followed by creative character descriptions that you have to keep readjusting your perspective to stay on trackI think this book needs to be handled differently for me to enjoy it It's a few books in one; perhaps it would have done better as 3 short stories in a single novel so that you have a creative story using the facts applied to a family for depicting what happened while separately you have a true account of what's known the good and the bad and then a third one dedicated to all the things people didn't know about this time period in AmericaI have heard good things about the author and will peruse something else she's written in the book store before committing to buying it Good luck to anyone else who takes this book on just wasn't for me About Me For those new to me or my reviews here's the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you'll also find TV Film reviews the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the whowhatwhenwhere and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by


  7. says:

    From a period of time so fraught with scandal and religious ferocity Stacy Schiff is able to construct a powerful and well paced book that offers readers insight into the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 Admitting from the outset that much of the stereotypical views of witches their pointy hats bubbling cauldrons warty chins and evil cackles was formulated much later by fiction writers Schiff tries to get to the core of events in colonial New England and provide the reader with everything needed to place these events in proper context Salem events took place primarily over a nine month period between January and September 1692 though the idea and persecution of witches dates well back in the colony and for centuries around the world Witchcraft of the time related strongly to the practice of allowing the devil to use one's body as a vessel for his own devices as Schiff notes contrasting greatly with the strong puritanical nature of Salem and the New England environs As such the hunting out of witches and their subseuent trials became a long standing biblical war akin to that found in the Book of Revelations on which the Puritans based their fervour From the outset Schiff provides the reader with a collection of characters both puritanical leaders and those who were agents of the Devil to play out these events both standing firm to their set of beliefs In developing the persona of the witch Schiff focusses on the blunt and honest admission by some women as well as a handful of men who agreed to turn towards the Devil for assistance in their daily lives or because they felt out of place amongst others in town The book's focus is not to exemplify the vastly generic nature of witch hunting and persecution but to show that those in Salem who were possessed had no problem admitting it Schiff mentions a few traits seen in these individuals such as the evil eye marking across the skin or a copy of a contractual agreement with the Devil usually signed in blood These traits separated the individuals from others and became the collection of foundational traits by which the religious elders judged others to be witches Schiff notes that possession or witchcraft crossed ethnic and socio economic lines as well as varied in age citing a girl of seven as being happy to admit that she is a tool of the Devil Schiff surmises that it was the extrapolation of the aforementioned traits by judicial and religious leaders that created the frenzy of false accusations and the deaths of many who attested to their innocence Familial and fraternal relationships with known or admitted witches tended to be seen as automatically guilty as well as some oddities in the person shakes birthmarks speaking oddly though the puritanical fire and brimstone proved not to weed out the guilty but to make an example for those placed before the authorities Schiff notes various forms of torture to wean out admissions which would sometimes come to offset the pain in which people were put Most readers will see like torturing prisoners those in positions of power can usually get the answers they want if the barbarism is painful enough Some trials were drawn out while others were brief affairs and reuired only a witness or two but all guilty verdicts were handled in the same way; a death sentence for the convict These public executions served also to scare people into reporting others who appeared possessed or professed to doing evil acts and one can surmise that it was also to pack the pews for religious meetings Throughout the tome Schiff offers up wonderful detail of each point in the process placing events it into historical context While I might have expected of a 'law and order' approach hunt them out and bring them to trial in the latter part of the narrative Schiff explores the different types of witches and their varied occult activities grouping individuals in this manner and on occasion referring to a person in a few chapters as their personal stories were uite complex This was definitely a scary time in colonial America and Schiff effectively portrays it without the bells and whistles of a Hollywood storyline An interesting novel that seeks to open the eyes of the reader while trying to separate fact from inevitable fictionHaving never read Schiff before I was not sure how to approach this Truth be told when the book was recommended to me I thought it would be of a fictional account of the trials with a great deal of substantiated proof a piece of historical fiction Once I realised in the early going that this was a full on historical and biographical account I was pulled into the narrative and sought to learn as much as I could Schiff admits that her research was stymied by not having the actual transcripts of the trials but simply summaries and some court documents that have lasted over three centuries To have the compendium of actual transcripts would have made for a much riveting depiction though Schiff is effective in portraying all that occurred and breathes life into those who were accused There are two things that come forth in these accounts over all others; the religious might under which the colony was held at the time and the openness of those who were actually witches Schiff portrays the clash and the trials lose their muster as being a strong judicial battle to find the traitors in the midst especially since these individuals stand firm in their convictions of being strong willed agents of the Devil Schiff paces her tome out effectively trying to offer up varying perspectives of those who were brought to trial and their different accusations though since much of the narrative focussed on Salem the same characters are interspersed within seeing as it is likely that the witches would all interact on some level The attention to detail that Schiff offers is second to none and I found myself enthralled in the details though I will admit there were portions I found dry and drawn out All that being said Schiff knows how to present an effective biographical and historical piece on one of the most misunderstood short periods in time while also dispelling many of the myths that surround both witches and the trials in this small New England communityKudos Madam Schiff for this wonderful insight into this most scandalous subject Rest assured I will be coming back to read of your work soonLikehate the review? An ever growing collection of others appears at


  8. says:

    The Salem witch trials is a fascinating subject but I found this book to be a bit frustrating I had enjoyed Stacy Schiff's previous work Cleopatra and was excited when I heard she was researching the infamous witch hunt of 1692 However The Witches is maddeningly detailed and excessively footnoted and I think it's a case where Schiff couldn't see the forest for the trees The best parts of the book were Chapter 1 in which Schiff wrote a good summary of the mass hysteria that happened in colonial Massachusetts and the last few chapters which finally provided some context and explanation for what occurred The majority of the book chronicles the numerous accusations of witchcraft and the trials and punishments in addition to the minutiae of daily life and the neighborly bickering of the Puritans But the author seemed so focused on creating a comprehensive historical account that the work became dense and opaue It doesn't help that there is a huge cast of characters involved and it's difficult to keep all the stories straight There is a detailed list of everyone at the front of the book which is a nice referenceI would recommend this book to fans of history who don't mind doing some skimming during the dense partsOpening PassageIn 1692 the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women five men and two dogs for witchcraft The sorcery materialized in January The first hanging took place in June the last in September; a stark stunned silence followed What discomfited those who survived the ordeal was not the cunning practice of witchcraft but the clumsy administration of justice Innocents indeed appeared to have hanged But guilty parties had escaped There was no vow never to forget; consigning nine months to oblivion seemed a appropriate response It worked for a generation We have been conjuring with Salem — our national nightmare the undercooked overripe tabloid episode the dystopian chapter in our past — ever since It crackles flickers and jolts its way through American history and literature


  9. says:

    In The Witches Salem 1692 Stacy Schiff provides a thorough exposition of what happened during the Salem Massachusetts witch frenzy of 1692 The trouble seems to have begun when two young girls Abigail Williams and Betty Parris took to twitching convulsing yipping rolling around on the floor being bitten pinched and pricked by spectral creatures and so on The attention this garnered the 'afflicted' young ladies soon inspired other girls to exhibit the same symptomsThe stricken youngsters said witches were responsible for their symptoms and proceeded to accuse their families friends neighbors and acuaintances of being the witches in uestion Soon afterwards the accusers were seeing people morph into animals observing women fly through the air on rods watching turtles and birds suckling on churchgoers fingers seeing women consort with the devil etcBefore long many members of Salem's Puritan community were accusing each other of witchcraft The Puritans apparently came to believe the devil wanted to destroy them Satan's supposed method get people to sign his book and become witches by promising them new shoes foreign travel nice clothes land riches whatever their hearts desired The newly minted witches would then go out and turn others to the dark side If the devil's plan was successful the Puritans would apparently suffer eternal damnation Thus the witches had to be ruthlessly eliminated from the populationLocal authorities prosecutors judges church ministers and others not only believed these ideas they were often the main proponents Thus accusations of witchcraft were taken very seriously And an accusation was almost as good as a conviction Almost every person arrested for being a witch confessed usually because shehe was relentlessly badgered ruthlessly tortured or completely self deluded And accusations weren't reserved for adults Some witches were as young as five years oldArrests for witchcraft resulted in hundreds of shackled hungry people languishing in filthy stinking freezing prisons often for many monthsTo rub salt into the wound the prisoners had to pay for their jail stay Most of the accused were middle aged to elderly women but some men were suspected as well Perhaps the most unlikely person accused was George Burroughs a former Salem church ministerThe ongoing witch trials not remotely fair by modern standards resulted in 19 people being hanged including Minister Burroughs who maintained his innocence to the very endIn addition one man who refused to confess was pressed to death by stones a horrible way to die and two dogs were executed Moreover a number of people died in prison succumbing to the fearsome conditionsOnce a person was convicted of witchcraft and sometimes even before conviction hisher possessions were looted by authorities and sometimes local residents leaving remaining family members penniless homeless and starving One might suspect that this opportunity for 'legal theft' provided a likely motive for false accusationsEventually a semblance of sanity began to creep back into Salem and the imprisonments trials and hangings ebbed and ceased By then the major culprits of the witch trials the prosecutors judges church ministers and Governor of Massachusetts were having second and third thoughts The highest officials including famous Minister Cotton Mather spent the next few years trying to explain excuse and justify what they'd doneSir William Phips Governor of Massachusetts during the Salem witch trials Minister Cotton MatherBy then though people's reputations had been irreparably ruined families had been impoverished andor destroyed and the town had suffered tremendous hardships To this day descendants of the Salem Puritans seem abashed about the hysteria of the 1600s though it's given rise to a lively tourist businessThe book is almost too thorough in its coverage of the topic There are so many descriptions of people being accused arrested uestioned imprisoned tried and hanged or eventually freed that they blend together After a while it's hard to remember who's who In addition the repetition is tediousI was also mystified by the numerous references to Sweden which didn't seem to make much sense or maybe I missed something In any case I googled 'witchcraftSweden' and found that a frenetic witch hunt in Sweden resulted in the 1675 Torsåker witch trialsTorsåker witch trial in SwedenConvictions in Torsåker resulted in 71 witches being beheaded and burned in one day Salem authorities were apparently familiar with the Swedish witch hunt in any case they mentioned Sweden a lot and this may well have influenced their beliefs and actionsLike many people I was somewhat acuainted with the Salem calamity from history classes in school This book however gave me a real education in the subject The author's research was clearly prodigious and I found the story interesting despite the repetitions I'd highly recommend the book to curious readers as well as history buffsYou can follow my reviews at


  10. says:

    It felt like this book would never end I like nonfiction I love historical nonfiction I also love details Give me lots and lots of details and send me hopping down the rabbit hole on a research adventure and I'm a happy girl What I don't like is constant repetition of said details and nearly obsessive reiteration of scant sources that makes their scantiness blazingly obvious I also don't want to hear over and over again how little there was to work with I think it was primarily this last bit that grated so much about Schiff's writing It came off as a college student's haphazardly cobbled together thesis with some passive remarks tossed in as if Schiff felt coerced into writing rather than any desire to expound upon its historical importance cultural ramifications reasons or at the very least personal perspectives on available explanations floating around in the void Such as the tensions brought to the fore by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum in Salem Possessed Or any number of later authors that have worked on cracking the surrounding membrane of Salem and its trials During the first two chapters I found myself debating the validity of never uitting on a book; I just couldn't get into Schiff's writing style It seemed so jumbled and wordy By the third chapter things started looking up and I began to enjoy bits Unfortunately I found the book drifting back into the jumbled territory of the first two chapters and as it progressed I haven't read anything by Schiff before so I don't consider myself adeuately versed in her writing style I was wary of this work because I saw it had uite a lot of poor to flat out awful reviews but I had also seen so many great reviews on her Cleopatra project So I figured it was just the weight of the detailing that put people off Witches and as mentioned before details make me a happy girl so how bad could it be?It was bad For the most part bad Schiff sets the scene pretty well for our foray into the depths of 1692 Salem and the political unrest engulfing it She also pries out a great amount of character study suppositional character study to be taken with a pinch of salt but a large amount nonethelessIt's the delivery that kept falling flat for me It was pandering stuttering anachronistic and often offensive An indigenous warrior as the swarthy terrorist in the backyard really? It felt as if Schiff was than happy to slip in and out of dramatic biographical ramblings instead of keeping the plot and giving us anything fresh on Salem and its people Making it seem much risible than relevant in the whole


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