The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy SchiffThe Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

The Witches: Salem, 1692

byStacy Schiff

Hardcover | October 27, 2015

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author ofCleopatra, the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials.

It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.

As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff's account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.
Stacy Schiff is the authorof Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov),winner of the Pulitzer Prize;Saint-Exupéry, Pulitzer Prize finalist;A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize; andCleopatra:A Life. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National...
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Title:The Witches: Salem, 1692Format:HardcoverDimensions:512 pages, 9.75 × 6.5 × 1.5 inPublished:October 27, 2015Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316200603

ISBN - 13:9780316200608

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from So interesting Really fascinating read about the historic evidence (court documents, letters) that shed light on the Salem witch trials. I was happy to find that even among mass hysteria there were many government officials who were skeptical and tried to stop the death of many.
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rich In History Rich in history and a must read for anyone intrigued by the Salem witch trials. The writing does bog the reader down at times with the lack of flow.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Like NayNay said A great read. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! As a historian and someone who studied the Salem trails in great detail this books does a really good job of explaining the accounts in one source.
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Intersting book, doesn't flow well This is a good book. However, more proofreading was necessary. The author has a habit of changing the subject mid sentence, at times I had no idea what point they were trying to make. I think that this is a case of them getting caught up in their own narrative of events. It is still worth it to read this book, the history is solid and well researched. Accept the fact that you won't be able to go more than a chapter in one sitting and you won't have any problems.
Date published: 2016-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fascinating account of an interesting period of Massachusetts history In 1692, 14 women, 5 men and 2 dogs were executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. It started in January of that year when two girls experienced strange symptoms, twitching and contorting with pain. In the course of 9 months, dozens of people were affected by this strange epidemic, and hundreds were accused of witchcraft. Daughters pointed fingers at mothers, neighbors implicated each other. A minister was accused of being a great wizard, the leader of the Salem witches. In all this commotion, the afflicted girls became visionaries and were consulted during the trials. This non-fiction account is told in chronological order and is extremely well researched. The Witches is rich in historical and political details about life in New England at the end of the 17th century. Fending off attacks from Native Americans and the French, and dealing with an unforgiving climate and a new charter for their young country, the settlers didn’t have an easy life. A deeply religious people, they lived in fear of the devil. All the accounts of the period come from ministers or high-ranking officials, and it is a shame we don’t have the afflicted girls’ point of view, as Puritan women did not write diaries. The book dispels misconceptions about Salem: witches were hanged, not burned, and women and men were accused, not just women. However, I found that The Witches is a little dry at times and that the author sometimes goes into too much detail. In addition, there is a huge cast of characters, and it can be daunting for the reader. Thankfully, the author provides a very helpful list of characters at the beginning of the book. On the whole though, The Witches is a fascinating account of an interesting period of Massachusetts history. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating Information Less than Ideally Presented I bought this book because of my fascination for its subject matter. A few weeks later and before starting to read it, I was shocked and disappointed to see its readers’ ratings: over half of those who had read it gave it only one or two stars but less than a quarter gave it full marks. Despite the ratings and the associated comments, I decided to read it anyway since I already had it. My impressions are as follows. On the positive side, I found the book to contain a great many details about the life, times, superstitions, religion and beliefs of the early New England settlers. I found much of the information extremely fascinating and many passages to be absolutely spellbinding. Overall, I learned quite a bit about this terrible late-seventeenth century tragedy and about the people involved. On the negative side, I must agree with many of the prior reviewers that the book is rather difficult to read. I found the prose to be quite often awkward, convoluted and several passages were very difficult to follow. So instead of continuously re-reading those many passages in order to try and comprehend some subtle points, I mostly went through them once, dismissing any material that I didn’t grasp as relatively unimportant in the long run. As a result, my level of frustration was significantly decreased and I was able to glean most (if not all) of the important information that the author was trying to convey. I suspect that this book can be appreciated the most by readers with enough of a serious passion for the subject matter to have the patience to hack through some often awkward and obscure prose.
Date published: 2016-01-04

Editorial Reviews

"Enchanting. Out of the shadows of the past come excitable young girls, pompous ministers, abusive judges, grieving parents, and angry neighbors, all of them caught up in a terrifying process that seemed to have no end: discovering who among them deserved death for being in league with Satan. The Witches is as close as we will ever come to understanding what happened in and around Salem in 1692. Courtrooms, streets, churches, farm yards, taverns, bedrooms-all became theater-like places where anger, anxiety, sorrow, and tragedy are entangled. An astonishing achievement."--David D. Hall, Bartlett Research Professor of New England Church History, Harvard University"Schiff's books are based on serious scholarly research, yet they're conveyed in bright, accessible prose... She displays the same sharp intelligence and eclectic interests that distinguish her body of work."--Publishers Weekly, "Most Anticipated Books of the Fall""Schiff has beautifully combined remarkable story telling with historical accuracy and insight. She has opened up important new avenues for Salem scholarship."--Bernard Rosenthal, editor of Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt