Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England / Edition 2

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In the first edition of the Bancroft Prize-winning Entertaining Satan, John Putnam Demos presented an entirely new perspective on American witchcraft. By investigating the surviving historical documents of over a hundred actual witchcraft cases, he vividly recreated the world of New England during the witchcraft trials and brought to light fascinating information on the role of witchcraft in early American culture. Now Demos has revisited his original work and updated it to illustrate why these early Americans' strange views on witchcraft still matter to us today. He provides a new preface that puts forth a broader overview of witchcraft and looks at its place around the world--from ancient times right up to the present.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A book that will rank with the best, a book that shows how much we still may learn from these people. This is not simply a monograph on witchcraft but a major attempt to understand the kind of society and the kind of culture in which witchcraft had a place. Rich in insights."--The New York Review of Books

"A remarkable piece of scholarship. Vividly illustrates what made certain individuals vulnerable to charges of witchcraft."--The New York Times Book Review

"History in such capable hands becomes much more than a chronicle: it makes the past seem as vivid and dimensional, and every bit as compelling, as the present."--Newsweek

"With the publication of this book, the historical study of American witchcraft finally comes of age."--American Historical Review

"Beautifully written and exhaustively researched."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"Well written and easy to read.... More than a history of witchcraft. It is placed within the wider social context and is thus a history of early New England culture.... Very well documented."--History: Reviews of New Books

"A work that sets the stage for the eruption in Salem and promises to transform the terms in which we understand that extravagant episode.... A rewarding and fascinating achievement well worth reading."--American History Illustrated

"Demos has done an excellent job of researching a subject of great interest today."--William C. Viser, Ouachita Baptist University

"An ambitious, informative work."--Paul Tiverow, Missouri Southern State College

"Brilliant."--Herbert Cederberg, University of Wisconsin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195174830
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2004
  • Edition description: Updated Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 641,074
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John Putnam Demos is Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author of A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony and The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America.

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Table of Contents

1 "A desolate condition" 19
2 "Peace with no man" 36
3 Witches : a collective portrait 57
4 "A diabolical distemper" 97
5 "Let me do what I could" 132
6 Accusers, victims, bystanders : the innerlife dimension 153
7 "The mind of our town" 213
8 "Hard thoughts and jealousies" 246
9 Communities : the social matrix of witchcraft 275
10 "From generation to generation" 315
11 "Hearts against hearts" 340
12 Communities : witchcraft over time 368
App List of known witchcraft cases in seventeenth-century New England 401
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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Being a Massachusetts native, I have always been fascinated by the witch trials in Salem. This book covers the subject in amazing detail. The research is in-depth and the writing thoroughly entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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