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Historians have speculated on a web of possible causes for the witchcraft that started in Salem and spread across the region - religious crisis, ergot poisoning, an encephalitis outbreak, frontier war hysteria - but most agree that there was no single factor. Rather, as Emerson Baker illustrates in this seminal new work, Salem was "a perfect storm": a unique convergence of conditions and events that produced something extraordinary throughout New England in 1692 and the following years, and which has haunted us ever since.
Baker shows how a range of factors in the Bay colony in the 1690s, including a new charter and government, a lethal frontier war, and religious and political conflicts, set the stage for the dramatic events in Salem. Engaging a range of perspectives, he looks at the key players in the outbreak - the accused witches and the people they allegedly bewitched, as well as the judges and government officials who prosecuted them - and wrestles with questions about why the Salem tragedy unfolded as it did, and why it has become an enduring legacy.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By TeamDowager on 10-23-15
Wow....riveting and tragic
This was a thoughtful and thorough look at the 1692-3 Salem Witch Trials and their impact on American History. The author pulled upon a wealth of previous scholarship and synthesized a highly readable book. The audible recording is excellent. As a Massachusetts native, I noticed some of the pronunciations of Towns were off - but the rest of the reading made up for that and a regular listener would probably not notice.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Dan Borisov on 01-24-15
not what I thought it would be
I could not keep up with all the names and dates! I was hoping for more of a description of what actually took place and more info about the people involved. i.e family life, how they were suspected.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful