The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem

The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem Author Stacy Schiff
ISBN-10 031620059X
ISBN-13 9780316200592
Year 2016-09-20
Pages 512
Language English
Publisher Back Bay Books
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Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff author of the 1 bestseller Cleopatra provides an electrifying fresh view of the Salem witch trials The panic began early in 1692 over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter when a minister s niece began to writhe and roar It spread quickly 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 death Speaking loudly and 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 remote rocky barren bushy wild woody wilderness With 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 more 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 historians

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