Salem Possessed

By Paul Boyer, Stephen Nissenbaum,

Book cover of Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft

Book description

Tormented girls writhing in agony, stern judges meting out harsh verdicts, nineteen bodies swinging on Gallows Hill.

The stark immediacy of what happened in 1692 has obscured the complex web of human passion, individual and organized, which had been growing for more than a generation before the witch trials. Salem…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Salem Possessed as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Salem Possessed remains one of the most discussed, or referenced, books on the Salem witch trials. 

It provides an in-depth analysis of the social, cultural, and economic conditions in Salem village, now Danvers, that led to the outbreak of 1692, in search for an answer as to why only a handful of communities succumbed to witch-hunts.

It was the first such scholarly study of the Salem witch trials, upon which historians have since built making the case that any understanding as to why witch-hunts occurred in New England rather than approached with broad strokes, requires an analysis of local conditions…

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