From a manual for witch hunters written by King James himself in 1597, to court documents from the Salem witch trials of 1692, to newspaper coverage of a woman stoned to death on the streets of Philadelphia while the Continental Congress met, The Penguin Book of Witches is a treasury of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends. Bringing to life stories like that of Eunice Cole, tried for attacking a teenage girl with a rock and buried with a stake through her heart; Jane Jacobs, a Bostonian so often accused of witchcraft that she took her tormentors to court on charges of slander; and Increase Mather, an exorcism-performing minister famed for his knowledge of witches, this volume provides a unique tour through the darkest history of English and North American witchcraft.
Katherine Howe, the direct descendant of three accused Salem witches, is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, The House of Velvet and Glass, and the young-adult novelConversion, a modern-day retelling of The Crucible set in a Massachusetts prep school. She teaches in the American Studies program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
I wanted to read this book because I was interested in the history behind witches. Well, this book didn't disappoint there. That is all this book is. A recount of actual documents dating really, really far back in time. Most of us are familiar, or at least heard of the Salem witch trials, but this history lessons extends a few hundred years further back.
I really appreciated all the links inside of the book, so you can look at and read the research articles yourself. It took me a while to read the book because of it. I kept referencing to the back of the book when prompted, and often did further research online via the links provided. I learned a lot.
If you are looking for entertainment, look elsewhere. This book is purely facts and history. Not everyone will enjoy it.
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