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D a remote 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 historians. 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

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The Witches Salem 1692

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 terme. 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 WhyOne 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

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Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff author of the bestseller Cleopatra provides an electrifying fresh view of the Salem witch trialsThe panic began early in 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 The Witches eBook #225 elderly man crushed to deathSpeaking. 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


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

  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

  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 aga

  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 mathemati

  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

  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 cac

  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 wit

  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

  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

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