The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials

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by K. Goss
     
 

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Part of the enduring fascination of the Salem witch trials is the fact that, to date, no one theory has been able to fully explain the events that ravaged Salem in 1692. Countless causes, from ergot-infected rye to actual demonic posession, have been offered to explain why the accusations and erratic behavior of seven village girls left hundreds accused, over 20

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Overview

Part of the enduring fascination of the Salem witch trials is the fact that, to date, no one theory has been able to fully explain the events that ravaged Salem in 1692. Countless causes, from ergot-infected rye to actual demonic posession, have been offered to explain why the accusations and erratic behavior of seven village girls left hundreds accused, over 20 dead, and the townspeople of eastern Massachusetts shaken. Through a multitude of resources, this authoritative source explores this tumultuous episode in early American history, including the religious and political climate of Puritan New England; the testimony and examinations given at the trials; the accusers and their relationships to the accused; major interpretations of the events, from the 17th century to the present day; and the aftermath of the trials and their impact on later generations.

This jam-packed documentary and reference guide includes:

  • Five thematic essays exploring the event, including historical background, interpretations, and aftermath
  • biographical sketches of every major player involved in the trials, from ministers to afflicted girls
  • fifty primary document excerpts, including petitions, letters, and revealing trial testimony
  • a chronology of events
  • an annotated bibliography of print and nonprint sources for further research
  • a glossary of key names, terms, and language used at the trials
  • over 25 photos of depictions and historical sites

A must-have for any student of American history, this resource gives a unique glimpse into the 17th century politics, religious culture, and gender issues that created the Salem witchcraft episode, and gives context to an impact that still resonates today, in everything from modern political life to popular culture.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up- In order to give readers a broad foundation upon which to understand the social, historical, and psychological aspects of the trials, Goss provides a comprehensive examination of this intriguing subject, discussing the roots of the belief in witchcraft from the later Middle Ages through the 17th century, precedents in Britain and New England before 1692, and the Salem Witch trials from early 1692 through the end of May 1693 and beyond. In his well-balanced tome, the author includes interpretations of the trials from the earliest historians to late-20th-century analysis. An array of relevant and instructive black-and-white photos and illustrations enhances the text. Fifty court-related primary documents, selectively detailed biographies of key trial figures, an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and an accurate chronology, glossary, and index are all appended. This meticulously researched book would work well as a supplement to Marilynne K. Roach's outstanding The Salem Witch Trials (Cooper Square, 2002). Through the use of diaries, journals, and letters, Roach reconstructs daily life during the trials and examines historical details such as conflicts between church congregations and ministers and the origins of the hysteria in conflicts of the day.-Hillary Jan Donitz-Goldstein, formerly at New York Public Library

From the Publisher
"Although more than 300 years have passed since they occurred, the Salem witch trials continue to command the interest of students, scholars, and the general public….Historian David Gross collects and reviews the evidence for these events….This assembledge of information and evidence allows the reader to draw their own conclusions regarding the witch trials. This collection on a perennially popular topic will serve high school, public, and academic audiences."

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Lawrence Looks at Books

"[T]he work deserves a place in public and college libraries."

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Booklist

"In his well-written balanced tome, the author includes interpretations of the trials from the earliest historians to late-20th-centuray analysis. An array of relevant and instructive black-and-white photos and illustrations enhances the text. Fifty court-related primary documents, selectively detailed biographies of key trial figures, an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and an accurate chronology, glossary, and index are all appended….[M]eticulously researched"

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School Library Journal

"This reference includes the comprehensive coverage that is so critical to an effective evaluation of any historical event….The chapters would provide a complete summary by themselves, but this book also includes a chronology of events, biographies of key figures involved, fifty primary source documents, a glossary of terms, an annotated bibliography, and a thorough index. Black and white photos and images of primary source documents enhance the text. An honest portrayal of the facts and evaluations of the Salem witch trials, this volume allows the reader to draw conclusions as to why these events happened. This book would be a great addition to any library. Recommended."

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Library Media Connection

"His examination of the trials' continuing effect is thought provoking…a book that adds a valuable perspective to an historical episode that still affects us today."

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ARBA

"As a reference guide on the Salem Witch Trials, this book fulfills its purpose. It concisely provides a variety of useful information for students who seek to understand the hunt in historical context."

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Sixteenth Century Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313349607
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/30/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
3 MB

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