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The Witches: Salem, 1692

de Stacy Schiff

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1,934566,712 (3.43)79
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, 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.… (més)
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» Mira també 79 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 55 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I always thought that the Salem witch trials were, basically, "You're a witch!" No I'm not!" "Yes you are!" "Hang her!" There is more, much more to them, though. Stacy Schiff has woven a wonderful narrative of this complex, multi-layered story - touching on the religious, economic, social and political undercurrents of the Massachusetts Bay colony of the day. Recommend. ( )
  heggiep | Nov 24, 2021 |
This would make a perfect Reader's Digest Condensed Book. ( )
  fionaanne | Nov 11, 2021 |
This is all about the trials. It tells how they started, details about the different people and trials and what came after. Some parts were interesting to me, but sometimes it was just more of the same facts with another trial so similar to the one before. It's crazy and scary that something like this happened. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Feb 17, 2021 |
I want to buy this book and re-read it, as I listened to the audio from my library/Libby. There is SO much information in this book and it would be so great to re-read it and be able to flip back and forth, underline, etc.

I do agree that it reads like a history book, but I'm OK with that! I don't know a lot about this time in history so I appreciate the basics. That being said, I do think "The Witches: Salem, 1692" goes deeper than just the basics and it probably would have better for my comprehension if I had more knowledge going into the book, but it's not necessary to be able to follow along and understand a great deal.

I recommend it for those interested in the topic. There are some sentences too that are pure gems of insight. When I snag a hard copy and start underlining, I'll try to remember to update this and share a few!
  coffeefairy | Nov 21, 2020 |
It took me a year and a half to finish this book. Having previously read Stacy Schiff’s biography of Cleopatra, which I liked very much, I had high expectations for this book, so high that I assigned it as class reading for a research project on witch hunts past and present.

Unlike Cleopatra, The Witches: Suspicion, Hysteria, and Betrayal in 1692 Salem was hard to navigate. While there are many things to like about this book, I’ll start with the things I didn’t like. It’s hard to follow. Partly chronological and party thematic, it bounces back and forth between the events leading up to, during, and following the infamous Salem witch trials, to sections that provide detail (including numerous foot notes) about specific people and events that stretch far beyond the chronological timeline. I can see Schiff’s reasoning for wanting to include the background information, but it would have been better if she had somehow woven it together more smoothly and less confusingly. Sometimes I felt like I was navigating my way through a maze with lots of false starts and dead ends.

Also, Schiff’s use of pronouns is often vague and unclear so that I wasn’t always sure which possible “he” or “she” she was referring to.

In addition, the occasional pop culture references (Harry Potter, McCarthyism, etc. were anachronistic and sometimes jarring. Furthermore, Schiff’s use of sarcasm in summarizing the accusations of witchcraft and pieces of trial testimony were also somewhat confusing.

The book was well researched, and I especially enjoyed the chapters detailing what happened after the events of 1692, which one seldom hears about. Schiff is able to connect the trials with current events (up through 2016), so the relevancy of the events and what they say about human nature are clear.

While I began by reading the book, I barely made it 1/3 of the way through, so I finished it via audiobook, which I liked much better. I did sometimes have to rewind sections several times to follow Schiff’s thoughts, but the narrator does a good job even when she is reading the footnotes.

Overall I liked the book enough to give it 3 stars. I’m glad I read it, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again. I will, however, put it upon my shelf as a reference book not only for looking up the specifics of the Salem Witch Trials but also for the extensive bibliography it provides. One can always learn from the past, and it is with this knowledge that we can hopefully look forward to a more hopeful future. ( )
  LoriFox | Oct 24, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 55 (següent | mostra-les totes)
 
afegit per DoctorDebt | editaChicago Tribune, Amy Gentry (Nov 5, 2015)
 
These are upsetting tales and Schiff writes movingly as well as wittily; this is a work of riveting storytelling as well as an authoritative history. Schiff’s explanations for the events are convincing. She identifies the symptoms of the supposedly bewitched with those neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot listed in his studies of hysteria (twitching, stammering and grimacing) and she suggests that in a repressed, puritanical society, people found this an easy outlet both for boredom and for an uneasy conscience. There were also questions of power at stake: land disputes; sexual and professional rivalries. “Vengeance is walking Salem,” cries Miller’s John Proctor; “the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”
 

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Stacy Schiffautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Foss, ElizaNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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I
The Diseases of Astonishment
We will declare frankly that nothing is clear in this world. Only fools and charlatans know and understand everything.
—Anton Chekhov

In 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 obliviion seemed a more 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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"A witch is one who can do or seems to do strange things, beyond the known power of art and ordinary nature, by virtue of a confederacy with evil spirits." - Joseph Glanvill
"Salem is in part the story of what happens when a set of unanswerable questions meets a set of unquestioned answers."
In the anxious murk, religion sometimes seemed a kind of halfway house between reason and superstition.
I observe the law to be very much like a lottery - great charge, little benefit.
Oh! You are liars, and God will stop the mouth of liars...I will speak the truth as long as I live. - Dorcas Hoar
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, 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.

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