Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Witches: Salem, 1692

"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."

This book only has a 3 star rating on Amazon but as I am obsessed with all things Salem I definitely wanted to read it. Stacy Schiff is an interesting writer. This is the first book of hers I have ever read so I don't know if her other books are the same but I would assume so. Her writing style is a mix of great research and a bit of imagination. There are quotes from papers I had never heard, but also talk of rain on certain days or people flying on brooms. She doesn't just focus on the accused, but also on the accusers and the judges as well which some may not find as interesting. I can see how people could get bored as she is a very detailed writer, however some of those details I found most interesting. No eyeglasses in 1692 Salem--as an extremely nearsighted person I can't imagine living like that. Reading some of the cures that the "doctors" used to treat their patients, you wonder how they survived the hysteria unscathed. Then there is the accounts of the torture the girls supposedly went through. They are almost unreal to read and even more unreal to know that people went to their death because of them. Because of the times and their beliefs (there was always an omen, bad luck or sickness was almost always a curse, etc..) you can almost forgive those who believed (not those who accused) but you have to wonder how so many people became the pawns of those little girls and the others who played their parts in this historical tragedy.

If you are looking for fiction, this book isn't for you. If you are looking for a factual account (mixed with a little speculation) of Salem in 1692, then I recommend this book.

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