88 books like Night Battles

By Carlo Ginzburg, John Tedeschi (translator), Anne C. Tedeschi (translator)

Here are 88 books that Night Battles fans have personally recommended if you like Night Battles. 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 The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe

Bryan Le Beau Author Of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials.

Who am I?

A native of Massachusetts and married to a descendent of two of the accused, the Salem witch trials have long fascinated me. Armed with a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University – focused on American history, literature, and religion – a significant portion of my academic career has been devoted to research, publications, classes, and public lectures on the Salem witch trials, reflected in the third edition of my book, The Story of the Salem Witch Trials. The book is only one of several books and many articles I have published on various aspects of American cultural history, many of which relate in some way to what happened in Salem in 1692.  

Bryan's book list on the story behind the Salem Witch Trials

Bryan Le Beau Why did Bryan love this book?

Brian Levack is the leading authority on the history of witch-hunts in Europe.

Anyone seeking to fully understand the events of 1692 in Salem, needs to begin with a study of the 250 years of witch-hunts in Europe that preceded the outbreak in New England, which came late in the game but followed what occurred in many ways what preceded it. 

Levack’s book, now in its fourth edition, is the best source on this subject.  It includes information on the Salem witch trials in context of what happened in Europe. 

By Brian P. Levack,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, now in its fourth edition, is the perfect resource for both students and scholars of the witch-hunts written by one of the leading names in the field. For those starting out in their studies of witch-beliefs and witchcraft trials, Brian Levack provides a concise survey of this complex and fascinating topic, while for more seasoned scholars the scholarship is brought right up to date. This new edition includes the most recent research on children, gender, male witches and demonic possession as well as broadening the exploration of the geographical distribution of witch prosecutions to…


Book cover of The Golden Ass

Richard Jenkyns Author Of Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond

From my list on classical literature.

Who am I?

I spent my career teaching Classics, mostly at Oxford University, where I was a fellow of Lady Margaret Hall and Professor of the Classical Tradition. I have worked on the influence of the ancient world on British literature and culture, especially in the Victorian age, and when being a conventional classicist have written mostly about Latin literature and Roman culture. I have also written short books on Jane Austen and Westminster Abbey.

Richard's book list on classical literature

Richard Jenkyns Why did Richard love this book?

The narrator is turned into a donkey and undergoes various tribulations before recovering his human form. The only Latin novel to survive complete, it is a unique curiosity shop of diverse treasures: fantastical, comic, bawdy, beautiful, violent, and finally—biggest surprise of alldevoutly religious. "It smells of incense and urine," Flaubert said. Much of the work consists of tales related by the characters whom the donkey comes across, of which the longest is Cupid and Psyche, a fabulously rococo display of exquisite and enchanted storytelling. The virtuoso beauty of the description of Cupid’s wings is unbeatable. "Reader, listen up: you’ll love it," says the narrator at the start. You will. Again, go for Ruden’s translation.

By Apuleius, Sarah Ruden (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Golden Ass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Acclaimed poet and translator Sarah Ruden brilliantly brings Apuleius's comic tale to life

"A rollicking ride well worth the fare, . . . marvelously, sidesplittingly ridiculous. . . . It's a story, not a homily, and Sarah Ruden has re-bestowed it with artful aplomb."-Tracy Lee Simmons, National Review

"A cause for celebration. . . . We owe Sarah Ruden a great debt of thanks for [this] English translation that is no less inventive, varied, and surprising than the original."-G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books

With accuracy, wit, and intelligence, this remarkable new translation of The Golden Ass breathes…


Book cover of The Saga of the Volsungs

Martha Rampton Author Of Trafficking with Demons: Magic, Ritual, and Gender from Late Antiquity to 1000

From my list on the history of European magic and witchcraft.

Who am I?

I’m a scholar, a teacher, and an activist for gender equity. I earned my Ph.D. in medieval history at the University of Virginia. Since then, I've taught at small liberal arts colleges where I’ve had the flexibility to diversify the courses I teach. Among those courses are ancient, medieval, and Islamic history, the History of Magic and Witchcraft, Latin, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. My current gig is at Pacific University Oregon where I established a Gender and Sexuality Studies minor, founded the Center for Gender Equity, and developed an exchange program with Lady Doak college in India for exploring issues regarding gender. I've recently published two books on the intersection of magic, gender, and ritual.

Martha's book list on the history of European magic and witchcraft

Martha Rampton Why did Martha love this book?

The Volsung saga is a heroic Old Norse tale about the origins and decline of the royal clan of the Volsungs and the fantastic deeds of Sigurd the dragon-slayer. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet and historian, recorded the story around 1220, but the material dates to events that took place centuries before. The saga is full of beings and happenings that would have been considered demonic in Christianized Europe, such as giants, werewolves, sorcery, magic wolf skins, and the consumption of dragons' blood to learn the language of birds. However, within the mythic Norse world, these things were otherworldly and magical, but not necessarily malevolent. The saga was a source for J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings—right down to the dwarfs, a cursed magical ring, and a treasure-guarding dragon—and an inspiration for Richard Wagner's epic music drama, the Ring Cycle. Also, the story of the…

By Anonymous, Jesse L. Byock,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The epic Viking Age stories that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien and Wagner's Ring cycle

Written in thirteenth-century Iceland but based on ancient Norse poetry cycles, The Saga of the Volsungs combines mythology, legend and sheer human drama. It tells of the cursed treasure of the Rhine, a sword reforged and a magic ring of power, and at its heart are the heroic deeds of Sigurd the dragon slayer, who acquires magical knowledge from one of Odin's Valkyries. One of the great books of world literature, the saga is an unforgettable tale of princely jealousy, unrequited love, greed, vengeance and…


Book cover of The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950-1250

Martha Rampton Author Of Trafficking with Demons: Magic, Ritual, and Gender from Late Antiquity to 1000

From my list on the history of European magic and witchcraft.

Who am I?

I’m a scholar, a teacher, and an activist for gender equity. I earned my Ph.D. in medieval history at the University of Virginia. Since then, I've taught at small liberal arts colleges where I’ve had the flexibility to diversify the courses I teach. Among those courses are ancient, medieval, and Islamic history, the History of Magic and Witchcraft, Latin, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. My current gig is at Pacific University Oregon where I established a Gender and Sexuality Studies minor, founded the Center for Gender Equity, and developed an exchange program with Lady Doak college in India for exploring issues regarding gender. I've recently published two books on the intersection of magic, gender, and ritual.

Martha's book list on the history of European magic and witchcraft

Martha Rampton Why did Martha love this book?

Robert Moore’s history of the growth of institutional persecution in the tenth through thirteen centuries is a classic in medieval history. Moore demonstrates that the oppression of various “undesirables” in society, such as Jews, heretics, lepers, and homosexuals, fits into a pattern of state-building. Particular groups were not targeted for harassment, expropriation, segregation, expulsion, and mass execution because they caused a real threat. On the contrary, they were defenseless, and by playing on common people’s ignorance and stirring up fear, the centralized powers of state and church were able to scapegoat those groups as polluted, deviant, and dangerous.

Having established the powerless as the “other,” the ruling elite were then able to bring them down and appear to be the saviors of the Christian social order. This book does not focus on witches per se, but it explains how in the central Middle Ages governing mechanisms and bureaucratic procedures created…

By Robert I. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Formation of a Persecuting Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The tenth to the thirteenth centuries in Europe saw the appearance of popular heresy and the establishment of the Inquisition, the expropriation and mass murder of Jews, and the propagation of elaborate measures to segregate lepers from the healthy and curtail their civil rights. These were traditionally seen as distinct and separate developments, and explained in terms of the problems which their victims presented to medieval society. In this stimulating book, first published in 1987 and now widely regarded as a a classic in medieval history, R. I. Moore argues that the coincidences in the treatment of these and other…


Book cover of Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Friuli During the Renaissance

Nicholas Scott Baker Author Of In Fortune's Theater: Financial Risk and the Future in Renaissance Italy

From my list on exploring what what Renaissance Italy was really like.

Who am I?

I teach the histories of early modern Europe and European worlds at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. I developed a fascination for the period and, especially, for the Italian Renaissance as an undergraduate before going on to complete a PhD at Northwestern University in the United States. I love the contradictions and tensions of the period: a society and culture in transition from what we call medieval understandings and worldviews to what we see as more modern ones. These are some of the books that helped to fuel my passion for Renaissance Italian history and to answer some of my questions about what life was really like in Renaissance Italy.

Nicholas' book list on exploring what what Renaissance Italy was really like

Nicholas Scott Baker Why did Nicholas love this book?

This was another book that really inspired my choice of profession. Located in the northeast corner of the Italian peninsula, Friuli emerges as something like the wild west of Renaissance Italy in this engrossing study.

Far removed from the urbane cities and courts and the worlds of art and literature commonly associated with the Renaissance, Edward Muir reveals the continuing binds of feudal obligation, family, vengeance, and honor, and the violence they provoked in the early sixteenth century. Incidentally, the history he tells also encounters the real-life origins of the story that would become Romeo and Juliet.

Like Trexler, Muir explores the power of ritual in Renaissance Italian life, but rather than rituals of community and government, he focuses in this book on the rituals of aversion and violence.

By Edward Muir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nobles were slaughtered and their castles looted or destroyed, bodies were dismembered and corpses fed to animals-the Udine carnival massacre of 1511 was the most extensive and damaging popular revolt in Renaissance Italy (and the basis for the story of Romeo and Juliet). Mad Blood Stirring is a gripping account and analysis of this event, as well as the social structures and historical conflicts preceding it and the subtle shifts in the mentality of revenge it introduced. This new reader's edition offers students and general readers an abridged version of this classic work which shifts the focus from specialized scholarly…


Book cover of Italian Folk Magic: Rue's Kitchen Witchery

Sara Raztresen Author Of The Glass Witch

From my list on bringing folk, magic, and fantasy off the page.

Who am I?

I’m a fantasy writer and Christian witch with over 10 years of research, practice, and passion under my hat. Discovering the fantastical concept of “real world” magic as a youth—and the ways in which the institutions in power have tried so hard to stamp it out, despite it being an undeniable part of our cultural and spiritual psyche—has inspired me to explain all I know in my fantasy and seek out all the magic and wonder in my reality. After all, our fantasy stories must get their inspiration from the real world—from all the magic, mysticism, and struggle hidden under the pretty face of mainstream religion.

Sara's book list on bringing folk, magic, and fantasy off the page

Sara Raztresen Why did Sara love this book?

Like Mlakar’s book, this book reveals old folk traditions, but in a more explicitly stated and conversational way. For anyone with Italian ancestry who wants to look at the ways that old folk religion hides, adapts, and stays alive under the dominant religion of the area, this is an incredible read—and whether you’re a writer or a witch or both, you’ll find a lot of inspiration from it.

Say what you will about whether or not magic is real: this book reminds us that we’re not all so different from our fantasies—that our imaginations are as real as anything else, and that the world around us brims with power, even if it’s just the power to shift our mindset to look at our situation a different way.

By Mary-Grace Fahrun,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Italian Folk Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this fascinating journey through the magical, folkloric, and healing traditions of Italy the reader learns uniquely Italian methods of magical protection and divination and spells for love, sex, control, and revenge.

"Mary-Grace Fahrun's Italian Folk Magic is an intimate journey into the heart of Italian folk magical practices as they are lived every day. Having grown up in an extended Italian family in North America and Italy, the author presents us with the stories, characters, saints, charms, and prayers that form the core of folk religion, setting them in context in an authentic, down-to-earth, and humorous voice. A delight…


Book cover of Strega Nona

Rebecca Hazell Author Of The Sweeper: A Buddhist Tale

From my list on to cheer you up and get you to look around.

Who am I?

I grew up in suburbia—or urban sprawl—with fairytales and children’s nonfiction series like Lands and Peoples. My passion for reading (and history and art museums) nurtured my sense of wonder and awe at the richness of the world. I was inspired to write nonfiction about heroic people by my own children, whose social studies education lacked dazzle and examples of heroism. I had already been creating educational materials for schools, but I wanted to inspire their wonder about and appreciation of the world. My kids are grown, but I’m still writing for young readers. An avid world traveler and historian, I've always aspired to bring other people, places, cultures, and times to life.

Rebecca's book list on to cheer you up and get you to look around

Rebecca Hazell Why did Rebecca love this book?

With simple, colorful illustrations and a humorous plot featuring Grandmother Witch’s magical pasta pot that requires more than the right words to control it, this book delights me still.

The story seems to be about learning to listen properly. It’s also about eavesdropping, bragging, and above all, the consequences of failing to follow directions. But its charm to me is its sympathy for naughty Big Anthony, who is, after all, just like everyone’s inner child.

By Tomie dePaola,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Strega Nona as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works in this classic Caldecott Honor book from Tomie dePaola.

Strega Nona-"Grandma Witch"-is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.

In this retelling of…


Book cover of Lilla the Accidental Witch

Marika McCoola Author Of Baba Yaga's Assistant

From my list on learning to be a witch.

Who am I?

I write for middle grade readers because they still dwell in a place of possibility. They know flashy magic doesn’t exist but they’ll still check the back of a wardrobe to see if it leads to Narnia. Middle grade is a period where readers explore their identity, trying to figure out who they are as well as who they’ll become. In these witchy books, the protagonists are exploring their identities, trying to reconcile expectations and the broadening world around them with who they truly are. The resulting books are adventures both external and internal and the start of exciting journeys. 

Marika's book list on learning to be a witch

Marika McCoola Why did Marika love this book?

While staying with her aunt in Italy, Lilla comes across a book that reveals she’s a witch. But the Stregamama, an ancient witch, wants to use Lilla for her own means. Meanwhile, Lilla’s crushing on her aunt’s assistant and trying to avoid the local boy her family is trying to set her up with. As a bookish introvert who wanted space to read, draw, and grow on my own terms, I couldn’t help but see myself in Lilla. Slightly artwork brings movement to the story while the palette adds spots of spookiness. A cute, queer graphic novel of realizing and voicing one’s identities, this book charms. 

By Eleanor Crewes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lilla the Accidental Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Thirteen-year-old Lilla feels she is a bit different. She's quiet and shy and sometimes feels uncomfortable in the company of boys. She'd much rather spend time by herself drawing and daydreaming. This summer, while staying with her aunt in rural Italy, Lilla discovers a book of magic which reveals that she is a witch with special powers, the magic of 'Strega'.

But unbeknownst to her, an ancient witch, Stregamama, threatens to ruin more than just her summer. Lilla is soon faced with a choice that could change her life forever.


Book cover of Holy Horror: The Bible and Fear in Movies

Brandon R. Grafius Author Of Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us

From my list on horror and religion.

Who am I?

I’ve been a fan of horror since I got sucked into Scooby-Doo as a three-year-old. When I started my academic career, I kind of kept that passion tucked inside as something to be embarrassed about – after all, I wanted to do serious work, and horror movies aren’t serious, right? Graduate school made me rethink that assumption, and pushed me towards seriously considering the engagement of horror and religion. I wrote my dissertation on a chapter of the Book of Numbers as a slasher narrative, and I haven’t looked back since.

Brandon's book list on horror and religion

Brandon R. Grafius Why did Brandon love this book?

Wiggins looks at how the Bible as a physical, tangible book plays an important role in horror movies – it doesn’t even need to be read to have power and be a crucial part of the plot. The book takes a deep dive into what the Bible means as a cultural symbol, even beyond our relationship to the words contained in its pages.

By Steve A. Wiggins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Holy Horror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes you afraid? It may be more than what you think. Horror films have been exploiting our fears almost from the moment movies were invented. Lurking unseen in the corner of horror, however, is something unexpected: the Bible. Sit back while the curtain parts and watch as the Good Book appears in both supporting and starring roles in the most unlikely of cinema genres. Starting with Psycho and running up through the 2010s, horror films, monster movies and thrillers will flash across the screen with Scripture plainly in view. Holy Writ is not always what it seems. The Bible…


Book cover of Down the Long Wind

Kit Whitfield Author Of In the Heart of Hidden Things

From my list on to feel like you’re living inside their folklore.

Who am I?

I’m a lifelong nature-lover, and for me, the old folk tales are deeply tied to this: the history of our attempts to give meaning to the beautiful and the unsafe. I spent a lot of time in the West Country as a child, and that shaped my imagination: the tangible magic of a landscape with chalk bones and golden snails and birds that exploded from the hedgerows before you. When I came to write my own folktales, that was the magic I wanted. And that’s what I love in books: the way they can make you feel like you’re standing on the soil of someone else’s inner world. 

Kit's book list on to feel like you’re living inside their folklore

Kit Whitfield Why did Kit love this book?

Oh, I cried my eyes out over this book when I was a kid! It’s a tale of Arthurian Britain, but somehow it reads, more than any other I’ve seen, like a historical novel – less T.H. White than Rosemary Sutcliffe. Bradshaw grounds it deeply in Welsh rather than French culture, and the magic feels eerily normal – terrifying, but also just part of the weave of the world. Add to this characters you get truly attached to, and it’s bewitching in the best sense; the book lingers in my imagination like a place I once lived when I was a child – and imaginatively, that’s what it is. 

By Gillian Bradshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Down the Long Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Intelligent and imaginative...even the magic convinces."
-Mary Renault, author of The King Must Die

On The Path Toward Greatness, Every Hero Makes a Choice

Legends sing of Sir Gawain, one of the most respected warriors of King Arthur's reign and one of the greatest champions of all time. But this is not that story. This is the story of Gwalchmai, middle son of the beautiful, infinitely evil sorceress Morgawse, and gifted student of her dark magical arts. A story of an uncertain man, doubting his ability to follow his elder brother's warrior prowess and seeking to find his own identity…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in witchcraft, Italy, and witches?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about witchcraft, Italy, and witches.

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