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.
Tuesday Intros and Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea and Jenn over at Books and a Beat.
'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 oblivion seemed a more appropriate response. It worked, for a generation. We have been conjuring with Salem - America's 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.' p.3Why did they execute 2 dogs? I love how Schiff says that 'the sorcery materialized' however. So far The Witches has been both historically interesting and very well-written. I'm fascinated with how much Salem has become a symbol for America's fear and paranoia.
'No one in Salem village lived alone. But suddenly - after Deodat Lawson's alarm and Parris's inflammatory sermon - they seemed less alone than ever. A riot of shadowy sightings followed.' p.106When I saw this I knew I wanted to share it with you guys! It's such a good example of Schiff's writing style, all mystical and beautifully fictional without losing any of her historic value.
So, what do you think? Like the sound of The Witches?