76 books like Imagining the Witch

By Laura Kounine,

Here are 76 books that Imagining the Witch fans have personally recommended if you like Imagining the Witch. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany

Lu Ann Homza Author Of Village Infernos and Witches' Advocates: Witch-Hunting in Navarre, 1608-1614

From my list on the trauma of European witch-hunting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, with a research focus on Spain and Italy. I first encountered archival documents from the Spanish Inquisition during research for my first book: I was already a fan of religious history but quickly became a fan of studying the law. I am fascinated by the ways in which people between the 1500s and 1700s used the legal systems at their disposal to recapture honor and pursue enemies. I am always on the lookout for ways in which religious prescriptions from centralized authorities did not match what was happening on the ground with ordinary, usually illiterate people.

Lu's book list on the trauma of European witch-hunting

Lu Ann Homza Why did Lu love this book?

No one does a better job of explaining the links between witchcraft accusations and fears over fertility than Roper.

Her ability to connect witches’ stereotypical activities—murder, cannibalism, sex with the Devil, and so on—with the demographic and subsistence crises of early modern Germany is remarkable.

She is an incredibly sensitive reader of primary sources.

By Lyndal Roper,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


Book cover of The Witches of Lorraine

Ulinka Rublack Author Of The Astronomer & the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Fight for His Mother

From my list on Witchcraze.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach history at Cambridge University and focus on the period between 1500-1700. We call this period early modernity, and associate it partly with the advances of printing, literacy, learning, and scientific discoveries. But this was also the age of the witchcraze and a period in which everyone, whether learned or illiterate, believed in the power of the devil and the presence of witches in society. It is important to me to recover women´s experiences and the experiences of families.

Ulinka's book list on Witchcraze

Ulinka Rublack Why did Ulinka love this book?

Alongside Germany, Lorraine was another hotspot of accusations and Briggs has worked over decades in local archives to analyse the patterns of accusations and paint a vivid picture of village life. His book underlines how complex sets of factors worked together, often over many years, to result in accusations and, in some cases, in executions.

By Robin Briggs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Witches of Lorraine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on perhaps the richest surviving archive of witchcraft trials to be found in Europe, The Witches of Lorraine reveals the extraordinary stories held within those documents. They paint a vivid picture of life amongst the ordinary people of a small duchy on the borders of France and the Holy Roman Empire, and allow a very close analysis of the beliefs, social tensions, and behaviour patterns underlying popular attitudes to witchcraft.

Intense persecution occurred in the period 1570-1630, but the focus of this book is more on how suspects interacted with their neighbours over the years preceding their trials. One…


Book cover of Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England

Larry Silver Author Of Europe Views the World, 1500-1700

From my list on values in European historical periods.

Why am I passionate about this?

A retired professor, an art historian who taught at Berkeley, Northwestern, and the University of Pennsylvania. Since my main interest is the emergence of Europe from the late Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period around 1500, I naturally gravitate to non-fiction books that engage with the shifting interests and values of that era, and my own books include similar efforts to discuss visual art in relation to religion, literature, politics, and wider contemporary cultural movements. Among my own books I would cite: Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain (with Aneta Georgievska-Shine); Europe Views the World, 1500-1700; and the forthcoming Art and Dis-Illusion in the Long Sixteenth Century.

Larry's book list on values in European historical periods

Larry Silver Why did Larry love this book?

An unlikely complement to Huizinga tracing the overlap between magical beliefs in religion as well as astrology and the emerging accusations of witchcraft. Deeply immersed in research about 16th-17th century England, this book offers a form of historical anthropology for baseline views of the strange ideas that drove spiritual life.

By Keith Thomas,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Religion and the Decline of Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Witchcraft, astrology, divination and every kind of popular magic flourished in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from the belief that a blessed amulet could prevent the assaults of the Devil to the use of the same charms to recover stolen goods. At the same time the Protestant Reformation attempted to take the magic out of religion, and scientists were developing new explanations of the universe. Keith Thomas's classic analysis of beliefs held on every level of English society begins with the collapse of the medieval Church and ends with the changing intellectual atmosphere around 1700, when science and…


Book cover of Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction

Joel F. Harrington Author Of The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

From my list on the European witch craze.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Centennial Professor of history at Vanderbilt University. I have been reading and teaching about witchcraft and the occult for over thirty years. This is a topic that never fails to engage people of all backgrounds and has generated a plethora of books, some good, many not. I look for authors who understand the passions, psychology, and experiences of both accusers and supposed witches, while also exploring what it is about certain societies that leads to such claims being taken seriously, often with fatal results. The books I picked vividly convey the reality of the witch craze, while also asking some probing questions about persecutions in general.  

Joel's book list on the European witch craze

Joel F. Harrington Why did Joel love this book?

I have read dozens of books on this subject and this is by far the best succinct overview I have come across. The author has written extensively on English witchcraft and knows the broader field inside out. It is truly amazing how much he is able to cover (clearly and vividly) in such a short space, from historic origins up to the present day. There is also a very helpful bibliography so readers can pursue certain topics in more depth.

By Malcolm Gaskill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Witchcraft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Witchcraft is a subject that fascinates us all, and everyone knows what a witch is - or do they? From childhood most of us develop a sense of the mysterious, malign person, usually an old woman. Historically, too, we recognize witch-hunting as a feature of pre-modern societies. But why do witches still feature so heavily in our cultures and consciousness? From Halloween to superstitions, and literary references such as Faust and even Harry Potter, witches still
feature heavily in our society. In this Very Short Introduction Malcolm Gaskill challenges all of this, and argues that what we think we know…


Book cover of Witches & Neighbors: The Social And Cultural Context of European Witchcraft

Lu Ann Homza Author Of Village Infernos and Witches' Advocates: Witch-Hunting in Navarre, 1608-1614

From my list on the trauma of European witch-hunting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, with a research focus on Spain and Italy. I first encountered archival documents from the Spanish Inquisition during research for my first book: I was already a fan of religious history but quickly became a fan of studying the law. I am fascinated by the ways in which people between the 1500s and 1700s used the legal systems at their disposal to recapture honor and pursue enemies. I am always on the lookout for ways in which religious prescriptions from centralized authorities did not match what was happening on the ground with ordinary, usually illiterate people.

Lu's book list on the trauma of European witch-hunting

Lu Ann Homza Why did Lu love this book?

This book should never go out of print, and for good reason: it is so smart and so very readable.

Briggs persuasively assesses the village contexts that played into witchcraft accusations and confessions in early modern Europe.

He clearly explains the crucial contexts of debt, feuds, and local relationships behind witchcraft allegations, and provides important insights into questions of gender and age. His evidence is compelling.

By Robin Briggs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witches & Neighbors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his remarkable and compelling interpretation of the course and causes of the fear and persecution of witches that bedeviled Europe for centuries, Briggs draws on the latest research into the local realities underlying the phenomenon. In particular, he employs his own extensive work in the rich archives hidden away in those Franco-German borderlands in which so many cases became known. Briggs reveals how ordinary people diverted ordinary and not-so-ordinary grievances into a complex structure of blaming and scapegoating. Villagers inhabited a harsh and dangerous world, where real and fantastic fears mingled.
Through his study of real cases and real…


Book cover of Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 1562-1684: The Social and Intellectual Foundations

Lu Ann Homza Author Of Village Infernos and Witches' Advocates: Witch-Hunting in Navarre, 1608-1614

From my list on the trauma of European witch-hunting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, with a research focus on Spain and Italy. I first encountered archival documents from the Spanish Inquisition during research for my first book: I was already a fan of religious history but quickly became a fan of studying the law. I am fascinated by the ways in which people between the 1500s and 1700s used the legal systems at their disposal to recapture honor and pursue enemies. I am always on the lookout for ways in which religious prescriptions from centralized authorities did not match what was happening on the ground with ordinary, usually illiterate people.

Lu's book list on the trauma of European witch-hunting

Lu Ann Homza Why did Lu love this book?

A classic study that was in the vanguard of American investigations of European witch-hunting when it first appeared in 1972.

It was and is remarkable in the ways it takes seriously both religious and social history.

Highly readable, extremely learned, and based on years of archival investigation, Midelfort’s work is a must-read.

By H. C. Erik Midelfort,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 1562-1684 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is an analysis of witchcraft and witch hunting as they appeared in southwestern Germany in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Starting from a short analysis of some basic problems in the interpretation of European witchcraft, it proceeds to a study of the shifting denominational views regarding witches and the growth of Catholic orthodoxy. That theoretical vantage yields insight into the patterns in time, space, and confession that characterized all witch hunts in the German Southwest. There follows a narrative analysis of the largest witch hunts and the general crisis of confidence they produced. Analysis is complemented by a…


Book cover of The Salem Witch Hunt: A Brief History with Documents

Lu Ann Homza Author Of Village Infernos and Witches' Advocates: Witch-Hunting in Navarre, 1608-1614

From my list on the trauma of European witch-hunting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of early modern Europe, with a research focus on Spain and Italy. I first encountered archival documents from the Spanish Inquisition during research for my first book: I was already a fan of religious history but quickly became a fan of studying the law. I am fascinated by the ways in which people between the 1500s and 1700s used the legal systems at their disposal to recapture honor and pursue enemies. I am always on the lookout for ways in which religious prescriptions from centralized authorities did not match what was happening on the ground with ordinary, usually illiterate people.

Lu's book list on the trauma of European witch-hunting

Lu Ann Homza Why did Lu love this book?

Godbeer’s introductory essay to this collection of primary sources is a model of clarity and up-to-date findings about America’s most famous witch hunt.

His scholarship has all the right pieces: attention to the often young female accusers, an exposition of how and why Puritanism highlighted the diabolical as a constant fear, and an assessment of potential failures of masculinity among the accused men.

By Richard Godbeer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Salem Witch Hunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Get a clearer understanding of why the Salem Witch Trials actually took place as Salem Witch Hunt explores how gender norms, social tensions, and the Puritan's worldview influenced this infamous period in colonial history.


Book cover of The Astronomer & the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Fight for His Mother

Joel F. Harrington Author Of The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

From my list on the European witch craze.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Centennial Professor of history at Vanderbilt University. I have been reading and teaching about witchcraft and the occult for over thirty years. This is a topic that never fails to engage people of all backgrounds and has generated a plethora of books, some good, many not. I look for authors who understand the passions, psychology, and experiences of both accusers and supposed witches, while also exploring what it is about certain societies that leads to such claims being taken seriously, often with fatal results. The books I picked vividly convey the reality of the witch craze, while also asking some probing questions about persecutions in general.  

Joel's book list on the European witch craze

Joel F. Harrington Why did Joel love this book?

The fascinating and moving story of the famous astronomer’s reluctant defense of his obstreperous mother, where not just his reputation but her life are at stake. We get an in-depth sense of how the combination of local animosities and popular superstitions gradually gather momentum over time until some tipping point brings them into the legal arena. I especially liked Rublack’s sympathetic portrayal of a famous scholar struggling with his own origins and sense of familial duty. A personal, family story, as early modern witchcraft cases often were. 

By Ulinka Rublack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Astronomer & the Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was one of the most admired astronomers who ever lived and a key figure in the scientific revolution. A defender of Copernicuss sun-centred universe, he famously discovered that planets move in ellipses, and defined the three laws of planetary motion. Perhaps less well known is that in 1615, when Kepler was at the height of his career, his widowed mother Katharina was accused of witchcraft. The proceedings led to a criminal trial
that lasted six years, with Kepler conducting his mother's defence.

In The Astronomer and the Witch, Ulinka Rublack pieces together the tale of this extraordinary…


Book cover of Serpent & Dove

E. Latimer Author Of Witches of Ash and Ruin

From my list on putting a little witch into your week.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian fantasy and horror writer living on Vancouver Island. In my spare time I collect far too many candles and dabble in tea leaf reading, so stories of witchcraft and witches are naturally right up my alley. 

E.'s book list on putting a little witch into your week

E. Latimer Why did E. love this book?

A laugh-out-loud snarky (and definitely steamy) enemies-to-lovers story about a witch hunter falling for the witch he’s supposed to kill. Though there’s a lot of romance and tension between the characters, we also get a good amount of action and exploration of this world of “Chasseurs” and witches. 

By Shelby Mahurin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Serpent & Dove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller * Indiebound Bestseller * An Amazon Best Book of 2019 * B&N's YA Book Club Pick

"A brilliant debut, full of everything I love: a sparkling and fully realized heroine, an intricate and deadly system of magic, and a searing romance that kept me reading long into the night. Serpent & Dove is an absolute gem of a book." -Sarah J. Maas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Court of Thorns and Roses series

Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy trilogy, this tale of witchcraft and…


Book cover of Blood & Honey

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

From my list on paranormal romances with shapeshifting warriors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved fairy tales, myths, and fantasy, having developed a vivid imagination during childhood because we lived far from friends. When I began studying French, I discovered a love for medieval legends such as Tristan et Yseult.  During trips to France, I explored troglodyte caves of the Loire Valley and prehistoric grottos, such as La Grotte de Lascaux. The more I researched legends and myths, the more my fantasy world of paranormal romance and shapeshifting warriors evolved.

Jennifer's book list on paranormal romances with shapeshifting warriors

Jennifer Ivy Walker Why did Jennifer love this book?

A passionate, paranormal romance between a witch and the chasseur who hunts her, Blood & Honey is filled with shapeshifting warriors, werewolves, and mermaids. As a French teacher, I loved the fantasy setting reminiscent of medieval France, the places like La Forêt des Yeux, and the two opposing families of witches—les Dames Blanches and les Dames Rouges—the French names of the colors depicting the distinction in the magic practiced.

By Shelby Mahurin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blood & Honey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The stakes are higher. The witches are deadlier. And the romance is red-hot. The eagerly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and Indiebound bestseller Serpent & Dove is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and is an instant New York Times bestseller!

Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church-fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To survive, they need allies. Strong ones. But as Lou becomes increasingly desperate to save those she loves, she turns to a darker side of magic that may cost Reid the one thing he can't bear to lose.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in witches, Germany, and witch hunts?

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