A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials

A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials

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by Frances Hill
     
 

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This compelling study of the horrific Salem Witch Trials—the first of its kind in over forty-five years—draws strength from new psychological insights into the roots of the hysteria that spurred the witch hunts of the late 1600s, and links them to the contemporary "witch hunts" of the twentieth century.

For more than three hundred years,

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Overview

This compelling study of the horrific Salem Witch Trials—the first of its kind in over forty-five years—draws strength from new psychological insights into the roots of the hysteria that spurred the witch hunts of the late 1600s, and links them to the contemporary "witch hunts" of the twentieth century.

For more than three hundred years, the hysteria that gripped Massachusetts during the Salem witch trials of the late 1600s has fascinated readers worldwide. Now acclaimed British writer Frances Hill has applied contemporary psychology to the Salem phenomenon and come up with startling results. Why were nearly all of the "afflicted" people women? What kind of mentality did the Puritans possess to place a four-year-old child in prison? What were the politics behind the witch hunts and trials, and what similarities exist in the witch hunts of the twentieth century (for example, the "witch hunts" of the McCarthy era)? In A Delusion Of Satan, Frances Hill answers these questions and many more in a conversational and frighteningly realistic narrative as she maps out details of the witch trials and subsequent hangings-information never revealed before. Discipline, morality, and intellectual rigor-these are all attributes that Puritanism bequeathed to the New World. Unfortunately, along with them came a tendency to regard an enemy as beneath empathy and deserving destruction. A Delusion Of Satan reminds the reader that these impulses, lurking in all people, can only be countered by constant reminders of common humanity.

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Editorial Reviews

Donna Seaman
*STARRED REVIEW* Almost everyone knows something about the infamous Salem witch trials, but few are privy to the chilling details that Hill, a British novelist and journalist turned scholar, reveals in her superb and boldly analytical study. Hill documents every grim particular of this travesty of justice and terrifying example of the power of suggestion, from the very first accusations to the last brutal executions. As Hill tells the all but unbelievable tale about how a group of girls accused innocent women from all walks of life of practicing witchcraft, thus instigating a year of mass hysteria and causing the death of 25 people, she emphasizes the harshness, sterility, and repressiveness of seventeenth-century New England Puritan life. It's no coincidence, Hill asserts, that Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, and Elizabeth Hubbard began having their dramatic fits in the dead of winter and in the wake of serious political and economic conflicts. The mystery is why allegedly responsible adults eagerly embraced and ruthlessly acted on their wild claims. Hill's astute psychological insights offer cogent explanations for this moral breakdown, but no interpretation can diminish the horror. And Hill reminds us that "witch-hunts are still with us." "
Sandra F. VanBurkleo
"...Hill aims to tell the story of the witchcraft trials for a lay audience -- accessibly, with minimal scholarly apparatus....in short...[she] marries imagined and imaginary pats in a responsible way....But, in the end, this book isnow what the public (or students in university survey courses) ought to be reading...[because it] is not accurate or informed enough to pass muster....." -- The Women's Review of Books
From the Publisher
"Hill reminds us that 'witch-hunts are still with us.'" —Booklist Starred Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385472555
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/01/1995
Edition description:
lst ed
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.59(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.09(d)

Meet the Author

Wanda McCaddon has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audio publishers and has earned more than twenty-five Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She has also won a coveted Audie Award, and AudioFile has named her one of recording's Golden Voices.

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