98 books like The Witches

By Stacy Schiff,

Here are 98 books that The Witches fans have personally recommended if you like The Witches. 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 Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Jason Kersten Author Of The Last Counterfeiter: The Story of Fake Money, Real Art, and Forging the Impossible $100 Bill

From my list on crime books that explode into larger worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a window-seat person. If I’m on a trip, I want to see much more than the device propelling me forward. In crime books, the vehicle is always the crime, but I want that felonious little engine to also propel me through realms where I become more explorer than passenger, where I’ve entered marvelous and unexpected worlds that become characters in themselves. It almost doesn’t matter what that world is, whether it’s 19th-century Chicago architecture, bitcoin cartels or octopus linguistics. As long as it’s well-researched and rendered with depth, precision, and passion, your ticket to a crime gets you at least two books, or even genres, for one!

Jason's book list on crime books that explode into larger worlds

Jason Kersten Why did Jason love this book?

Erik Larson is known for his masterful ability to combine meticulous research with rich prose to breathe life into history. This book, with intersecting narratives of a serial killer and a brilliant architect set at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, painted such a living picture for me that I still felt stuck to the canvas even when I wasn’t reading.

I learned about astonishing true events and characters I barely knew existed. The contrast between the great inventors on the grand stage of the fair and the killer haunting its shadow was superbly done.

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Devil in the White City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chicago World Fair was the greatest fair in American history. This is the story of the men and women whose lives it irrevocably changed and of two men in particular- an architect and a serial killer. The architect is Daniel Burnham, a man of great integrity and depth. It was his vision of the fair that attracted the best minds and talents of the day. The killer is Henry H. Holmes. Intelligent as well as handsome and charming, Holmes opened a boarding house which he advertised as 'The World's Fair Hotel' Here in the neighbourhood where he was once…


Book cover of The Library Book

ACF Bookens Author Of Publishable By Death

From my list on mysteries about books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a book lover from in utero. My mom was an avid and very fast reader, and I grew up finding respite, insight, and understanding in the pages of books. When I went to college, I studied English, and then got a Masters in literature before going on to learn more about writing the books I loved in an MFA program. This formal education just built on what I already knew – books are my first love, my guide through life, and often, the things that save me from the darkest moments of this world.

ACF's book list on mysteries about books

ACF Bookens Why did ACF love this book?

I am a great lover of literary nonfiction, stories of truth that use the elements of fiction to draw us in. Orlean’s book is a brilliant model of the genre as well as an absolute page-turner. The book begins with a massive fire in the Los Angeles Public Library. Orlean begins to look into the fire and discovers, in the process, the depth of her own affection for libraries as well as some serious questions about the person long-believed to have been responsible. A must-read for library lovers.  

By Susan Orlean,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Library Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Susan Orlean’s bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is “a sheer delight…as rich in insight and as varied as the treasures contained on the shelves in any local library” (USA TODAY)—a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries. “Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book” (The Washington Post).

On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. The fire was disastrous: it reached two thousand degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished,…


Book cover of Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States

T.M. Blanchet Author Of Herrick's End

From my list on truth that is stranger than fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about magic, witches, and weirdness—and all of it is inspired by the strange and startlingly true stories that hide just below the simmering surface of America’s melting pot. As a former journalist, I learned that everyone has an interesting tale to tell. And as a fiction writer, I’ve learned that all of that truth can be spun into something even more fun and fantastical. Reality, after all, is relative. 

T.M.'s book list on truth that is stranger than fiction

T.M. Blanchet Why did T.M. love this book?

Bill Bryson’s other books are more famous, but this one is my favorite. It details the wacky, startling, and sometimes unbelievable stories behind all the common phrases and words we use. I always keep a (lovingly tattered) copy in my car. You can pick it up, turn to any random page, and be happily engrossed for five minutes—or five hours. 

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Made in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sequel to his history of the English language, "Mother Tongue", Bryson takes an informed and fond look at the history of Americans through their popular culture and language. He explains why they drive on the right, say "lootenant", and call a certain type of sandwich a "hamburger".


Book cover of Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger Among the Pilgrims

T.M. Blanchet Author Of Herrick's End

From my list on truth that is stranger than fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about magic, witches, and weirdness—and all of it is inspired by the strange and startlingly true stories that hide just below the simmering surface of America’s melting pot. As a former journalist, I learned that everyone has an interesting tale to tell. And as a fiction writer, I’ve learned that all of that truth can be spun into something even more fun and fantastical. Reality, after all, is relative. 

T.M.'s book list on truth that is stranger than fiction

T.M. Blanchet Why did T.M. love this book?

Subtitled A Stranger Among the Pilgrims, this little gem details the unlikely story of Richard More, who arrived on our shores as a child on The Mayflower…then grew up, moved north to Salem Village, and watched one of his best friends die in the infamous witch trials. The author also happens to be More’s descendant, which brings an extra passion to the telling.

By David Lindsay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When David Lindsay started researching old records for details of the life of his ancestor, Richard More, what he found illuminated more than just More's own life. The tale that emerged painted a clear and satisfying picture of the way the first comers, saints and strangers alike, set off for the new land, suffered the voyage in the Mayflower, and put down their roots to thrive on our continent's north-eastern shore. From the story emerges the individual, Richard, a man of questionable morals, much enterprise, and a good deal of old-fashioned pluck - a combination that could get him into…


Book cover of Witchcraft at Salem

Marilynne K. Roach Author Of Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years of sporadic interest in the 1692 trials, Roach became obsessed with the subject after a 1975 trip to Salem itself. Her resulting history, The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, called “a virtual encyclopedia of the entire affair,” and “a Bible of the witch trials,” led to her stint as a sub-editor for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, and membership in the Gallows Hill Group that verified the site of the 1692 hangings, one of Archaeology magazine’s Top Ten discoveries of 2016. Her most recent book to date presents biographies of a half dozen of the major players in the tragedy, giving voices to women who, save for the tragedy, would likely have been lost to history.

Marilynne's book list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred

Marilynne K. Roach Why did Marilynne love this book?

While I do not agree with all of the author’s conclusions, this book showed me the prevalence of folk-charms in the culture, as well as the psychological reactions humans have to stress that could explain some of what happened with the “bewitched.”

By Chadwick Hansen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Trial documents and contemporary narratives are used in this discussion of the practice of witchcraft in seventeenth-century New England.


Book cover of Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft

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

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

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 in each community.    

By Paul Boyer, Stephen Nissenbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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 Possessed explores the lives of the men and women who helped spin that web and who in the end found themselves entangled in it.

From rich and varied sources-many previously neglected or unknown-Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum give us a picture of the events of 1692 more intricate and more…


Book cover of A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience

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

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

In his latest book, Baker explores the various explanations for the Salem witch trials. He concludes that there was no single factor, but rather the result of a convergence of conditions, political, social, cultural, and economic. 

He focuses on key players in the outbreak, including the accused, the accusers, the judges, and government officials who failed to deal with the hysteria in a timely manner, thereby sparing those who lost their lives in the process.

In his final chapter, he discusses the response of Salem town, “witch city,” to the events of 1692 and its attempt to mine the tourist opportunities while recognizing the personal tolls taken by the accused. 

By Emerson W. Baker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning in January 1692, Salem Village in colonial Massachusetts witnessed the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in early America. Villagers-mainly young women-suffered from unseen torments that caused them to writhe, shriek, and contort their bodies, complaining of pins stuck into their flesh and of being haunted by specters. Believing that they suffered from assaults by an invisible spirit, the community began a hunt to track down those responsible
for the demonic work. The resulting Salem Witch Trials, culminating in the execution of 19 villagers, persists as one of the most mysterious and fascinating events in American history.

Historians…


Book cover of A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials

Neill McKee Author Of Guns and Gods in My Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower

From my list on to understand the true founding of America.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my childhood in Canada, I was fascinated by the “Wild West” and the fact that my maternal grandmother, who lived with us, was born in Wisconsin in 1876, when Jesse James was still robbing trains. I became an international multimedia producer, and I always took an entertainment-based approach to my work, grounded in research. After I retired, I began to search for my roots, uncovering interesting stories of my ancestors. Besides accessing websites and books, I traveled to where they lived to gain insights, meet historians, and distant cousins. I also engaged expert genealogists to prove my lineage back to the Mayflower and Puritan settlers of New England. That allowed me to join the Mayflower Society.

Neill's book list on to understand the true founding of America

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

I read this book because Salem was founded by another ancestor of mine, Roger Conant. He first settled in Plymouth but could not abide the Pilgrims’ fanatical creed. He was a Puritan but not a religious separatist. Most Puritans had dreams of reforming the Church of England, starting in America. Fortunately, Conant died before the Salem Witch Trials began, for he would have been shocked at these developments. (Unfortunately for him, the town stuck his statue in front of the Witch Museum.) Frances Hill’s book is a blow-by-blow account of how the hysteria of some adolescent girls captured the minds of Massachusetts’ residents, including educated people, causing the death of 20 innocent people. It is also a study of Puritan culture, as it went more and more “off the rails.”

By Frances Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Delusion of Satan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This acclaimed history illuminates the horrifying episode of Salem with visceral clarity, from those who fanned the crisis to satisfy personal vendettas to the four-year-old "witch" chained to a dank prison wall in darkness till she went mad. Antonia Fraser called it "a grisly read and an engrossing one."


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 Narratives Of The Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706

Marilynne K. Roach Author Of Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials

From my list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years of sporadic interest in the 1692 trials, Roach became obsessed with the subject after a 1975 trip to Salem itself. Her resulting history, The Salem Witch Trials: a Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege, called “a virtual encyclopedia of the entire affair,” and “a Bible of the witch trials,” led to her stint as a sub-editor for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, and membership in the Gallows Hill Group that verified the site of the 1692 hangings, one of Archaeology magazine’s Top Ten discoveries of 2016. Her most recent book to date presents biographies of a half dozen of the major players in the tragedy, giving voices to women who, save for the tragedy, would likely have been lost to history.

Marilynne's book list on why the Salem Witch Trials occurred

Marilynne K. Roach Why did Marilynne love this book?

This collection of contemporary 17th century works covering (mostly New England) witch-related cases before, during and after the 1692 trials was one of the earliest sources I discovered at my local public library back in the early 1960s. It provides a window into the varying reactions people had to the uncanny and what they did about it.

By George Lincoln Burr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Narratives Of The Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book has been considered by academicians and scholars of great significance and value to literature. This forms a part of the knowledge base for future generations. So that the book is never forgotten we have represented this book in a print format as the same form as it was originally first published. Hence any marks or annotations seen are left intentionally to preserve its true nature.


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Interested in the Salem witch trials, witchcraft, and Massachusetts?

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