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This is not an easy read at all, but if you have time and are not easily upset, try reading this book. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Plus, the AudioBook version is great presentation in itself, and has some extra material added. This is a study of an endurance known to most people as a historical fact. It is done with diligence and attention. In the end, it is not only educational but both emotional and thought provoking.
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For a single-volume history of the Salem witch trials, you probably couldn't pick a better book. Thoroughly researched and soberly presented, Schiff manages to explore what feels like all angles at work, including of course how the trials effected and were affected by the place of women and other powerless groups in this strange and unsettling society. And yet, in true academic fashion, she never explicitly endorses any single interpretation of the events (apart from the obvious, that witches aren't real). I found this a very satisfying book.
However, whereas a straight academic work would probably opt for a purely chronological order, Schiff adopts a more rhetorical structure, which can be bamboozling in audio format, though it probably makes for compelling reading. So keep your wits about you as you listen.
I felt there was no plot or main characters to cling to. Way too many footnotes. It should remain a reference book. I have no doubt the author has managed to collate every fact there is to know about Salem, but it for any make for an enjoyable read.
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