Why this book?
Many historians have tried to show that beliefs in witchcraft had a logic to them and ought to be understood in the context of climate changes and harvest failures at the time, for instance. Roper´s book is so important because it returns to a close reading of the trial records and shows that there was something quite crazy going on in many of these fantasies about women boiling the bodies of babies they had killed or attacking one cow after another. She also argues that we need to explain why eighty percent of all accusations were made against women, and that this related to deep-seated fears about fertility.
Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany
Why should I read it?
3 authors picked Witch Craze as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
A powerful account of witches, crones, and the societies that make them
From the gruesome ogress in Hansel and Gretel to the hags at the sabbath in Faust, the witch has been a powerful figure of the Western imagination. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries thousands of women confessed to being witches-of making pacts with the Devil, causing babies to sicken, and killing animals and crops-and were put to death. This book is a gripping account of the pursuit, interrogation, torture, and burning of witches during this period and beyond.
Drawing on hundreds of original trial transcripts and other rare…