Home » Book Review » Review: The Witches: Salem 1692, by Stacy Schiff

Review: The Witches: Salem 1692, by Stacy Schiff

Published by Little, Brown and Company, 2015

Subjects:

Rating: ★★★★

Summary: A thorough, clear-eyed, and penetrating look into one of the most infamous incidents in early American history.

Thoughts: This was not a light or quick read for me. Even at the end of 417 pages, I feel that I’ve only brushed the surface of the events, barely developing a grasp on understanding the political and social forces. While the author clearly relishes historical discovery, this relish is not always communicated to the reader (in the sense of passed on to). This is not a book for those interested in the subject purely for its sensational aspects; those readers will quickly find their attention waning as the narrative wends its way through sociopolitical structures, the effects of 17th century Puritanism on adolescent psychology, and gender constructs. Readers who stick with the book through to the end will be rewarded by a deeper understanding of the infamous Salem incident, and perhaps gain some insight into how the events of 1692 may contain lessons for current times as well.

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